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Sunday February 5 2023
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In the wake of the sobering news regarding new Pitt football coach Mike Haywood's domestic violence arrest on Friday, the university's leadership (if indeed such an animal even exists) needs to act swiftly.

Pitt has no choice but to fire Haywood immediately.

Haywood—who was hired to “change the culture” of Pitt football and instill more discipline in the players—has committed an act that requires such abrupt and rash action from his bosses.

Pitt has neither the luxury nor the time for “gathering facts” or waiting for the legal process to take it's course. Pitt must separate itself from Michael Haywood as soon as possible and leave no room for interpretation in their actions.

Pitt's leadership—athletic director Steve Pederson and chancellor Mark Nordenberg—have let the university, the entire football program, the fanbase, and the local community down. Not because the Panthers didn't win the Big East, but because they allowed this to happen. Pitt supposedly hired a search firm and conducted in-depth interviews for a new head coach after Dave Wannstedt was forced to resign, but obviously they failed miserably in their attempt to properly vet Michael Haywood.

They owe—yes, owe—it to the campus, the team, the fans and the local community to make this right.

The chaos is not going to go away. The Pitt leadership has to stand up, admit it made a terrible mistake, and correct it.

They can do that by firing him right now.

“The University of Pittsburgh is aware of an alleged incident involving head football coach Michael Haywood today in South Bend, Indiana," read a statement released by the Pitt athletic department. "The University expects the highest standards of conduct from its employees, including its coaches, and any breach of those standards is a very serious matter. The University will decline further comment until more complete information is available.”

Not enough.

Mike Haywood must never be permitted to set foot in the home of a high school student as a representative of the University of Pittsburgh.

A replacement needs to be in place before the weekend is over because Pitt needs to move swiftly and decisively away from the mess they have created.

For that reason, the replacement must come from the current staff. The two obvious choices are offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, Jr., and assistant head coach Greg Gattuso. There is no time for an interview process or anything that might slow things down. Neither is ideal, but both are legitimate candidates to run a division 1 program. Circumstances dictate that it is time for them to get that chance.

And after the new coach is in place, Steve Pederson's future as athletic director needs to be re-evaluated

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