Former Pitt coach Haywood requests investigation over firing
June 29, 2011 7:00 AM
Former Pitt head coach Michael Haywood poses with athletic director Steve Pederson during a press conference Dec. 16. Haywood was fired Jan. 1.
By Paul Zeise Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Former Pitt head football coach Michael Haywood has asked the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and other state and federal agencies to investigate his firing.
In addition, the law firm representing Haywood said Tuesday that the university owes him hundreds of thousands of dollars in contractual obligations.
Pitt dismissed Haywood Jan. 1 after his arrest during a domestic disturbance at his home in South Bend, Ind. Haywood's employment was terminated just two weeks after he had been hired to replace fired coach Dave Wannstedt.
In a letter sent to the university, Haywood's attorney. Tony Buzbee of Houston, questioned Pitt's investigation of the domestic incident in South Bend and contended that the school was hasty in its dismissal of the coach.
The incident, between Haywood and the mother of his 21-month-old son, occurred Dec. 31 at Haywood's house where the woman and child lived.
Haywood was charged with domestic battery. At a pretrial hearing in February, Haywood admitted grabbing the woman during the altercation, which was over custody of the boy, and that she got hurt when she fell down trying to get away from him.
Pitt fired Haywood on Jan.1.
In court papers filed later, the woman asserted that Haywood was not a danger to her or the couple's child, according to Buzbee.
Haywood was given the option of having the charges dropped in a year if he lived up to the terms of a pre-trial diversion agreement with the court. The terms included a psychological evaluation, possible anger management counseling and 60 hours of community service by February 2012, Buzbee stated.
Pitt rejected that contention through this statement issued Wednesday by athletic department spokesman E.HJ. Borghetti:
"When the decision was made to terminate Michael Haywood in January, it was done so only after careful and thorough consideration of all relevant circumstances. The university subsequently provided a full and public explanation of that decision, eliminating the need to discuss this subject any further."
When Haywood was fired, Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg said the decision "is not tied to any expectation with respect to the terms on which the legal proceeding now pending might ultimately be concluded. ... moving forward with Mr. haywood as out head coach is not possible under the existing circumstances."
Haywood had signed a five-year deal with Pitt which, according to Buzbee, would have paid him as much as $7.5 million, plus other incentives.
The attorney contends the university owes $300,00 to Haywood, the amount the coach owed to buy out his contract with Miami of Ohio in order to take the Pitt job. He also contends the school owes Haywood money for the early termination of his contract.
Last January, Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson told reporters that a standard morals clause in the coach's contract enabled the school to terminate him without compensation.