PITTSBURGH — The University of Pittsburgh introduced Mike Haywood as its 35th head football coach Thursday afternoon at the UPMC Sports Complex in the Southside.

Athletic director Steve Pederson announced the hire and Haywood spoke and answered questions from all in attendance. He arrives at Pitt after orchestrating the biggest turnaround in the country this season, taking the Miami (OH) Redhawks from a 1-11 mark in 2009 to a 9-4 regular season record in 2010. Miami won the Mid-American Conference Championship Game by defeating No. 25 Northern Illinois.

Here’s Haywood’s opening statement along with the question and answer session…



The athletic department also released statements from former colleagues and players that have spent time with Haywood in the past. Here’s a few of those quotes…

Alabama Coach Nick Saban:

“Mike Haywood is one of the brightest young coaches in college football and he did an outstanding job for us at LSU. He certainly did a fantastic job at Miami in turning that program around. None of this news surprises me because of what he brings to the table in terms of his energy, his enthusiasm, his knowledge of the game, and his ability to recruit. I think he will do a great job at the University of Pittsburgh.”

Texas Coach Mack Brown:

“Mike is a tremendous football coach and a great hire for the University of Pittsburgh. He’s a bright, energetic and enthusiastic guy who helped us have very successful seasons in 2003 and 2004 and did a phenomenal job in turning things around at Miami. Mike is a great coach and person who has proven he really understands how to build a staff and a program. I’m really looking forward to following him at Pitt.”

Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Back and Former LSU Player Ryan Clark:

“The thing that I remember about him was his fire. He’s a guy who is always pumped up, always enthusiastic about football. I think that will be a great spirit that he will bring to Pitt. You look at what he did at Miami of Ohio. He’s a guy who can infuse a program with fire, a guy who can infuse a program with confidence. I think he does that with his intelligence, but also with his ability to communicate.

“I think he commanded respect because he gave it. He treated us like men, and we were young at that time. He allowed us to learn, he allowed us to work, but he also talked to us like men. He was straight up. You never had to wonder about how Coach Haywood felt about something you did. That’s something important at that age – when you’re 19 or 20 years old, you don’t want to be trying to figure out how somebody feels about you.”

Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog

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