Pitt Football: Mike Haywood Allegedly Seeking Review Of Termination

The Mike Haywood saga may not be over (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

I know, I know - I promised the Mike Haywood stuff was over. But I got a pretty interesting press release today from a media firm reportedly representing a law firm, that is fighting on behalf of the former Pitt coach.

The reason? Apparently Haywood is seeking a review of his termination.

Below is the release in its entirety. To be honest, if this is all true, it's not really a big surprise that this is turning out this way. Whether right or wrong, Haywood was dismissed really quickly without much of a process unfolding. That said, it could be argued that because of the nature of Pitt's 'business,' the school needed to act fairly quickly to avoid losing recruits, etc.

Really not sure how this will play out. I'm not a lawyer, so I won't play one on this blog. Settlement? Maybe, but really, well, I've got no idea.

Here's the release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Buzbee Law Firm

Former Pitt Football Coach Seeks State Review of Termination

PITTSBURGH, June 28, 2011 -- Michael Haywood, former head coach of the University of Pittsburgh football team, has asked the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and other state and federal agencies to investigate the university’s firing of him, The Buzbee Law Firm announced late today.

In a corresponding notice letter sent to the university, Haywood attorney Tony Buzbee raises concerns about Pitt's lack of investigation and the coach’s termination sixteen days after he was hired.

On Dec. 31, 2010, Haywood was arrested in South Bend, Ind. for alleged domestic abuse involving the mother of his then-21-month-old child. Within hours of the allegation, the university fired Haywood. The alleged victim soon thereafter filed court papers asserting Haywood was not a danger to her or the couple’s child. The submitted paperwork also raised questions about the accuracy of the police report.

Buzbee said, "In their rush to judgment, Pitt officials did not bother to contact the alleged victim or even the coach himself. I believe the university violated its contract with the coach, the university's employment procedures, and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Had Pitt conducted even a cursory investigation, it would have determined that the alleged incident simply did not occur as reported, and the termination would not have occurred. We are exploring other motives for Pitt’s firing of Coach Haywood."

Haywood’s five-year contract with Pitt would have paid him up to $7.5 million, plus other incentives. Buzbee said Haywood seeks a state investigation and a meeting with university officials.

Haywood said, "I deeply apologize for all the problems this incident has caused, including the 16 people who were once part of my staff. However, the allegations as reported are completely false."

Born in Houston, Haywood graduated from St. Thomas High School in Houston. A four-year-letterman at the University of Notre Dame, where he was a wide receiver and defensive back under Gerry Faust and Lou Holtz, Haywood graduated in 1986 (B.A., College of Arts and Letters). He then worked on the staffs of some of college football’s most successful coaches – including Mack Brown, Nick Saban, and Charlie Weis. In 2008, Haywood was named head coach of the Miami University RedHawks. After a 1-11 record in his first season, Haywood orchestrated one of the greatest turnarounds in college football history as Miami University won the Mid-American Conference and finished the 2010 season with a 10-4 record. For his work at Miami University, Haywood was named 2010 MAC Coach of the Year.

Media Contact: Erin Powers, Powers MediaWorks LLC, for The Buzbee Law Firm, 281.703.6000info@powersmediaworks.com.

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