Pitt should fire both Haywood and Pederson
By Chris Dokish
With the news that new Pitt head coach Michael Haywood has been arrested for allegedly roughing up the mother of his child, Pitt should correct this horrible mistake once and for all.
How do they do that? First of all, they need to immediately fire both Haywood and AD Steve Pederson. Haywood is obviously going to get fired. You simply can't make a big deal about hiring somebody supposedly moral and honorable (instead of talented) then retain him after allegedly beating up a woman. Haywood is done. Finished. Not only at Pitt, but probably elsewhere. Mugshots have a way of killing a college coaching career, unless of course you are an elite talent, which Haywood never was. It was an atrocious, and embarrassing, hire to begin with.
That brings us to Pederson, who arguably is responsible for two of the five worst major college coaching hires in the last ten years. The man, simply put, is incompetent. His hiring of Ben Howland, always thought to be orchestrated by Sonny Vaccaro anyway, is looking more and more like a fluke every day. If Pitt does not fire him also then they will again look like an amateurish and clueless administration.
So what to do then? Personally I would make Frank Cignetti, Jr., or somebody similar, the interim head coach at somewhere in the range of $700,000. Nobody worthwhile is going to work for Pederson now, and if Pederson does get fired, it will take months to hire a new AD. Likewise, nobody worthwhile will work for a university that has no AD. For this reason I make somebody who is desperate the head coach and tell him that it's a one year deal on an interim basis. If he does a great job in that year then you make him your permanent head coach. If he does not succeed then the new AD will hire a competent head coach, hopefully this time somebody with credentials to coach at a BCS program and not somebody like the bargain basement Haywood.
Yes, it would be difficult to hire a competent staff and to get any kids to commit for that one year, but it is the best choice in a horrible situation. There will be no chance that Pitt will be able to hire an excellent coach at this time, pure and simple. What coach would want to join this debacle right now? No one, unless you throw a lot of money at them and we all know Pitt will never do that. They could only hire a journeyman coach before, and now the situation is even worse so it's ludicrous to think anything better than an interim coach will work. And even that may not work, but it's the only reasonable option if Pederson is fired. If he's not fired then it won't matter who they hire because the program is over as we know it.
In conclusion, the firing of Dave Wannstedt was the right thing to do. The hiring of Haywood was a disaster to begin with, and has obviously turned nightmarish. Following my plan seems the best way to try to bring some competence and sanity back into what has quickly become a disastrous program. But Pitt rarely has done the right thing. It could begin to change that by firing Haywood and Pederson. But this time, make the right hiring.