New Pitt football coach released from jail, fired

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The University of Pittsburgh fired its new football coach late today, shortly after he was released from jail in Indiana after being charged with domestic battery.

Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg released the following statement this evening regarding Mike Haywood, who was named the new football coach last month:

"After careful consideration of recent events, the University of Pittsburgh has dismissed Michael Haywood as its head football coach, effective immediately. He was advised of that action this afternoon.

"To be clear, the University's decision is not tied to any expectation with respect to the terms on which the legal proceeding now pending in Indiana might ultimately be concluded. Instead, it reflects a strong belief that moving forward with Mr. Haywood as our head coach is not possible under the existing circumstances.

"This is a matter of real regret for the many people at Pitt who had looked forward to working with him. However, head coaches are among the University's most visible representatives and are expected to maintain high standards of personal conduct and to avoid situations that might reflect negatively on the University.

"We will immediately re-open our search for a head football coach, expanding the process to include a larger pool of candidates. Our goal is to move swiftly, but prudently, to find the right person to successfully lead the Pitt football program for what we hope will be an extended period of time."

Pitt spokesman E.J. Borghetti later released another statement, this one affirming the university's support for Athletic Director Steve Pederson, who hired Mr. Haywood:

"Mr. Pederson has played a key role in elevating Pitt's athletics programs, remains an important member of the University's senior leadership team and continues to enjoy the full support of the Chancellor."

Mr. Haywood was released from St. Joseph County Jail at 3:06 p.m. today after posting $1,000 bond, according to a jail official.

Mr. Haywood was arrested Friday afternoon and charged with domestic battery. St. Joseph County police were called to Mr. Haywood's home on Hawthorne Meadow Drive in South Bend, and a woman with whom Mr. Haywood has a child told officers that Mr. Haywood "held her in a choke hold" and pushed her.

Mr. Haywood originally was not going to be released until after his arraignment Monday at 1:30 p.m., a jail official said this morning. However, that changed when the St. Joseph County prosecutor increased the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony, according to the jail, allowing Mr. Haywood to be released earlier.

Under Indiana state law, domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a maximum $5,000 fine. If the alleged battery occurred in the physical presence of a child who is younger than 16, it can be charged as a Class D felony.

According to the jail, the St. Joseph County prosecutor increased the charge to a felony because the alleged battery took place in the presence of Mr. Haywood's 21-month-old son. A Class D felony conviction could mean a jail term between six months and three years, with an advisory sentence of 1 1/2 years, and a maximum $10,000 fine.

When the alleged battery was classified as a misdemeanor, according to a jail official, Mr. Haywood's bond could not be posted until a no-contact order was filed and he was arraigned. When the prosecutor's office increased the charge to a felony, it issued an arrest warrant, which, according to the jail, established a bond and court date and allowed Mr. Haywood's bond to be posted.

Mr. Haywood will still appear in court for arraignment Monday at 1:30 p.m., the jail confirmed.

Contacted in Houston, Texas, where she resides, Mr. Haywood's mother said the family did not wish to make a statement because they had not spoken to him.


Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1158. Moriah Balingit contributed.


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