Speaking of disgraced college football coaches, Mike Haywood finds himself out of college football just months after a meteoric rise up the coaching ranks landed him the head coaching gig at Pitt. What’s next for him?
Haywood had just two years of head coaching experience – at a mid-major school, no less – but Pitt hired him in December in an attempt to infuse discipline into the program despite it being an unpopular move among Panthers fans. Well, he was out of the job just weeks later on Jan. 1 after he was released from an Indiana jail on $1,000 bond.
A day earlier he was arrested after an argument ensued with a woman with whom Haywood has a child. He allegedly grabbed the woman by the arm and neck, according to ESPN.com, after an argument over custody as she tried to leave the South Bend, IN, home that Haywood owns.
According to the South Bend Tribune, Haywood agreed to enter a diversion program in February. The coach would have a felony battery charge – elevated because a minor was present – dropped if he behaves.
Things won’t be nearly as simple with his coaching career
It’s unlikely he would return to Notre Dame, his alma mater and where he served as the program’s offensive coordinator and running backs coach from 2005-08. Coach Brian Kelly is trying to steady the program after the horrific death of student-manager Declan Sullivan last fall and the DUI of star receiver Michael Floyd.
He simply doesn’t need the attention that no doubt would surround Haywood, a man with his own legal troubles.
Haywood could also reach out to his old boss at Notre Dame, Charlie Weis, who is now the offensive coordinator at Florida. While head coach Will Muschamp would ultimately have to sign off on the move, Haywood could become the most overqualified position coach in the country if they are willing to have him in Gainesville.
There’s always the broadcast booth, a place at which any person with some pedigree and perspective on the game can earn a well-paying job. Controversial former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach is currently an analyst for CBS Sports Network and Rick Neuheisel picked up the microphone for the same network after his unceremonious exit from the Washington program in 2003.
That being said, Haywood’s reputation may have been so irreparably scarred, thanks to the nature of his arrest, he may have to start from the ground up in an attempt to resurrect his career.
It’s been done before. Mike Price, fired in a similar manner from Alabama, is now coaching UTEP, while Larry Eustachy spent just one year out of basketball coaching before landing at Southern Mississippi after his scandalous time at Iowa State in which he was seen partying with coeds.
Our best guess is that Haywood lands in the pros, where it’s more about results. It’s obvious Haywood can coach. While NFL teams are worried about their reputation with fans, it’s different than representing a university.
Hey, George O’Leary did it, leaving Notre Dame after lying on his resume and landing as the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive coordinator. Now he’s back in college football at Central Florida. On the hardwood, former Indiana head coach Kelvin Sampson bolted for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks after massive NCAA infractions in Bloomington.
Using his connections with Weis, Haywood might be able to land a good gig in the league despite no experience coaching at that level. The obvious destination would be Kansas City, where Weis served as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator last season before heading back to campus.
Sure, it’s speculation, but Haywood has to start somewhere.