Fired Pitt football coach files suit

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Michael A. Haywood, hired as the University of Pittsburgh's football coach in December and then promptly fired after an arrest in a domestic dispute, sued Pitt in federal court today, claiming that his contract was breached and he is due around $4 million.

In a complaint by Pittsburgh attorney Rolf Louis Patberg and Houston attorney Anthony G. Buzbee, Mr. Harris said his five-year contract called for payments that could total $1.8 million a year. If Pitt wanted to cancel the contract for cause, it would pay him $750,000 per remaining year under the contract, the complaint said.

Pitt "was fully aware that he was embroiled in a custody dispute with his son's mother," the complaint said. On Dec. 31, that dispute resulted in an incident, the complaint said, in which the mother grabbed Mr. Haywood's shoulder, he pushed her hand off, and she slipped in slush and fell onto a wheelbarrow.

The mother then called the police. Mr. Haywood was arrested, and subsequently agreed to attend anger management training and do community service to address the charges. According to the complaint, the mother told the court that Mr. Haywood was not a danger to their child.

Pitt then "terminated Mr. Haywood without just cause," and must pay him $750,000 for each of the contract years, the complaint said. The complaint also demands that Pitt pay $300,000 to cover the buy-out clause in Mr. Haywood's contract with his former employer, Miami University, as it pledged to do upon hiring him. Miami University is seeking that payment from Mr. Haywood, it said.

The complaint is in the Western District of U.S. District Court.

A Pitt spokesman said the university does not comment on pending litigation.


Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542


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