This coaching search, like others, has kind of been an up and down one. Head coach of Miami of Ohio, Michael Haywood, has had his named tossed out there a whlie back. But it's looking like he could be Pitt's top target.
Haywood is/was apparently in Pittsburgh and is the first candidate that Pitt has brought into town.
It's hard to know what to think about this since before a few days ago, I had never even heard of him. But my immediate reaction is 'ugh.'
Haywood has led Miami to a MAC title this year ... but only a 9-4 record. In all fairness, however, three of those losses came against BCS schools Florida, Missouri, and Cincinnati. But here's the thing - Miami didn't even compete in any of those games, being outscored 130-28. And Haywood was also the leader of that team the year before when they went an uninspring 1-11. Yes, it was his first season, but ... still.
Prior to taking over there, he was an offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, and a running backs coach at Texas, LSU. He coached in other capacities before that at Army, Ohio, and Ball State.
Then there's recruiting. Haywood has had experience recruiting the midwest and some big southern states, as his bio suggests. But in that list of states, Ohio is prominently missing, leading me to believe that he's only been recruiting that area for the two seasons he's been at Miami. So it's not like he has great ties there - something that would be extremely helpful to Pitt.
So what's to like about this hire if it goes down? Well, he has experience coaching at major Division I programs. He was the 2005 AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year at Notre Dame. And as he showed this season, he can help a team experience a turnaround.
But is that enough to warrant being picked for this job? If he's hired, it's essentially on the basis of having one pretty decent season at a MAC school. Think about that for a second. Pitt went from hiring an NFL head coach, one of the NFL's best defensive coordinators of his time, and a top coordinator at a major Division I school in, ironically, Miami (FL), to bringing in a guy who's had one fair season as a MAC coach.
And what's more, is there significant reason to believe that Haywood can be the guy to take Pitt to the 11 and 12 win seasons that Wannstedt didn't accomplish? Look, as I said all along, if Pitt was going to get rid of Wannstedt, they needed to bring in someone that would be a slam dunk choice. This doesn't seem like that to me.