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Pitt files countersuit against Mike Haywood

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Big East schools just can't seem to stay out of court.

The Pitt News reported Tuesday that the University of Pittsburgh filed a countersuit in October against former coach Mike Haywood for breach of contract. The university said Haywood violated the confidentiality clause in the agreement by talking about the terms of the deal. The university said Haywood's attorney released those details after he was terminated, but the clause extends beyond the life of the contract.

Haywood sued the school in September, nine months after Pitt fired him after he was arrested on charges of domestic abuse against his girlfriend at his home in South Bend, Ind. Haywood had only been Pitt's coach for 17 days.

Haywood is seeking $3.75 million in damages, in addition to "attorney's fees, court costs, mental anguish, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, exemplary damages [and] all other costs to which he is entitled," according to the suit.

Pitt did not specify an amount it was seeking in the countersuit.

Pitt is the second Big East school dealing with legal issues. West Virgina is currently locked in a battle with the Big East Conference in an effort to leave the league early for the Big 12.

Haywood's attorney Tony Buzbee told the paper that he didn't think the university had cause for a countersuit.

He alleged that the University "jumped to conclusions" when they fired Haywood following his arrest. Buzbee said that the University didn't do enough to ascertain whether or not Haywood had actually done anything wrong.

"They just went off of what they saw on TV," he said. "That's not the way a professional organization should be run."

Buzbee said that the mother of Haywood's child even offered to speak with the University following his firing.

"I do know that this man was not done the way you should do people," Buzbee said.

Buzbee maintained that Haywood didn't want to pursue litigation and that he just wanted to go back to coaching football, but that might be difficult with this suit pending and no timetable for a resolution.

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