Why is it that when I see this photo, all I can think of is Emperor Palpatine? (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
With the Mike Haywood stuff coming out this week, I got to thinking a little bit about the hire back in December. If you'll remember, we were all gearing up for a few days off from work when the bombshell dropped.
My first thoughts were somewhere along the lines of 'What?' followed by long silence, trying to digest it. And then when it became official, I wrote about it and, well, I wasn't all that pleased.
Big risk? Uh, yeah.
The fact is that regardless of what you think about the Dave Wannstedt firing, the Haywood hire was a huge gamble. Wannstedt was unspectacular, but steady. The only problem for him was Pitt's off-field issues were just as steady - one after another in that final year. I'm still convinced that, right or wrong, Wannstedt would have been given another year if the team hadn't decided to audition for the TV show COPS (is that even still on?).
I hate to recall the painful memories, but regardless of what type of coach Haywood could have been, his credentials boiled down to having one good season at a MAC school. We can on and on about how he could have been a disciplinarian (which seems a bit silly now, in hindsight), how he could have brought the fire needed to do the job, etc. But when it boils down to it, his lack of true experience as a head coach made him a pretty big risk.
Tomorrow, I'll have a brief look at the sizable gamble Pitt took with Todd Graham.