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Revisiting Mike Haywood for the sake of revisiting Mike Haywood

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Jared Wickerham

It's been three full seasons, so yeah, I've forgotten about Mike Haywood. At the time, I didn't like the hire, but the fact that he never coached a game made it a downright awful one.

CBS' New York site put together a top ten list of worst coaching hires in the BCS era. No one would have faulted them for listing Haywood at the top, but he came in at No. 2 behind Notre Dame's selection of Charlie Weis:

2. Mike Haywood, Pitt, 2010

“From the first meeting with Michael Haywood … the qualities that he exhibited were absolutely in line with the values of this great university. He was the only candidate who was brought to campus and the only person offered the job.” – Steve Pederson, Pitt’s athletics director

Just 15 days after Pederson extolled Haywood’s character, discipline and values, the coach was arrested on a domestic violence charge. Hours later Pitt fired him. He never coached a game or ran a practice.

Pitt then apparently gave up on the idea of character altogether and hired Todd Graham, who left the program 11 months later for Arizona State – informing his players of his departure via text message.

What did we learn? It’s hard to run a college football program from behind bars.

I don't know - maybe I'm not distancing myself enough from it as a Pitt fan. But to me, the Haywood one was far worse than that of Weis'. Weis won 19 games his first two seasons and also made it to two BCS bowls. His next three seasons were less than stellar, but he was only below .500 in one of them.

The standards at Notre Dame are surely higher than they are most places, but one sub .500 season in five is enough to be called the worst BCS era hire?

Haywood's hire was also worse because of the terrible timing and the way it made the athletic department look. They lauded the hire for Haywood's discipline and then he was arrested on the domestic violence charge. It also put them in a difficult situation because they went out and overpaid for Todd Graham, who had to throw together a recruiting class at the last minute and then promptly left for Arizona State.

When you really look at it, the Haywood hire put Pitt back a few years since the program had to not only go out and bring in Paul Chryst after tabbing Graham, but then had several players on the roster brought in for Graham's system, somewhat handcuffing Chryst even further.

There's no doubt about it - the Haywood hire was a far worse hire than Weis'.

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