January 01, 2011
First, the good news for Mike Haywood, relatively speaking: He posted bail this morning after a Friday afternoon arrest for domestic assault at his home in South Bend, Ind. It would have been a shame to spend the first day of 2011 in jail.
Now, the bad news: Haywood has been officially fired as Pittsburgh's head coach, effective immediately, barely two weeks after he was hired away from Miami (Ohio) to replace outgoing coach Dave Wannstedt. At the time, Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson called Haywood "a man of character and integrity" who "will be an inspirational leader for our football team."
That was then. Today, the university released a statement in which chancellor Mark Nordenberg said coaches "are expected to maintain high standards of personal conduct and to avoid situations that might reflect negatively on the university." Presumably, the start of a new search for Haywood's replacement is also effective immediately.
The domestic assault charge against Haywood has also been upgraded to a felony. He was arrested around 3 p.m. Friday, after an apparent custody dispute with a woman with whom he has a child (but is not married) led to an altercation, according to St. Joseph County Police, who said the woman told them Haywood "grabbed her by the arm and neck and pushed her as she tried to leave" the house with the child. She reportedly had corroborating marks on her neck, arm and back. Haywood told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review after his release this morning that the arrest "isn't fair" and "the truth will eventually come out."
Be that as it may, his now-former employer isn't waiting for it. Haywood's elapsed time on the job: Seventeen days. That's longer than George O'Leary lasted as Notre Dame's head coach before the university discovered he'd lied on his resumé in 2001, but not as long as Mike Price was in the top job at Alabama before being canned for his infamous strip club antics in 2003.
In both of those cases, O'Leary (now at Central Florida) and Price (Texas-El Paso) were able to limp on from the ignominy of being fired before coaching a single game at a traditional powerhouse to a respectable second-chance job in Conference USA. Ditto basketball coach Larry Eustachy, who landed at Southern Miss after a handful of notorious post-game party pics got him bounced from Iowa State in 2003.
Given that Haywood's premature exit is the first in recent memory to be prompted by an actual arrest, though, the schools willing to take a chance on him will be much further down the food chain, and probably not willing to hand him the keys as a head coach. And given that he could be facing jail time if convicted of a felony charge, his future employment status may be the least of his concerns.
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Note: Comments for this post have been turned off, in anticipation of some predictable ugliness.
Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.