New Pitt football coach arrested in Indiana

Haywood accused of attacking woman


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Newly named University of Pittsburgh football coach Michael Haywood was arrested in Indiana Friday afternoon after the mother of his 21-month-old child told police he "held her in a choke-hold" and pushed her during a domestic dispute, St. Joseph County police said.

Mr. Haywood, 46, former head coach at Miami University of Ohio, was charged with domestic battery and lodged in the St. Joseph County, Ind., jail after the incident, which began unfolding about 2:30 p.m. central time at his home on Hawthorne Meadow Drive in South Bend. Officers were called there for a "domestic violence situation" in which the woman said Mr. Haywood had choked and assaulted her, Assistant Police Chief William Redman said.

When officers had separated her from Mr. Haywood, she told them she was "trying to leave the house with the child and he didn't want her to leave," Mr. Redman said. "That's when the verbal turned physical."

He wouldn't disclose the woman's name but described her as a "girlfriend." He wasn't sure if she had been living in the home with Mr. Haywood.

PG VIDEO: NEW PITT FOOTBALL COACH
Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson introduces Michael Haywood at a Dec. 16, 2010, press conference.

"What their relationship is is kind of unclear right now," he said.

She told officers Mr. Haywood held her in a choke-hold and pushed her. Officers said they could see red marks on her neck, arms and back.

"That's the physical evidence to what she claimed," Mr. Redman said. No one else was injured in the incident and the woman did not seek medical treatment, police said. The child, Michael Christopher, remained with his mother after the arrest.

Mr. Haywood was arrested at 3:10 p.m. and taken to the jail, where he will be held until he is arraigned. Under Indiana law, people facing domestic violence charges can't be released from jail until their arraignment, Mr. Redman said. His was scheduled for Monday at 1:30 p.m. due to the holiday weekend, but it was unknown if a judge would see him sooner.

Jail officials said Mr. Haywood has been meeting with attorneys, whom they would not name.

In a statement, Pitt said 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."

A spokesman for Pitt said the school will decline further comment until more information is available.

The arrest occurred the same day that Miami University of Ohio named Mr. Haywood's successor. At midday, Miami announced that Don Treadwell, a 1982 graduate and former football team captain, would return to his alma mater to coach the RedHawks this coming year.

Claire Wagner, associate director of communications at Miami, said she and the school could not comment on the arrest of its former employee without seeing a police report.

The school's athletic director, Brad Bates, declined comment.

Michael Anthony Haywood was born Feb. 26, 1964, in Houston, Texas. He is a 1986 graduate of Notre Dame. He was the offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Notre Dame from 2005 to 2008, when he went to Miami of Ohio.

He was introduced as Pitt's head football coach on Dec. 16 by Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson, who referred to him as a man of "character and integrity" who had qualities that were "absolutely in line with the values of this great university."

Mr. Pederson spoke highly of Mr. Haywood's reputation as a disciplinarian who would hold players accountable and be a "good role model" for Pitt's players. He talked at length about the structure and discipline Mr. Haywood would bring to the program.

Those qualities in a coach were important to Mr. Pederson and Chancellor Mark Nordenberg because part of their reason for forcing Dave Wannstedt to resign -- along with his failure to win the Big East in six seasons as coach -- was a feeling that he wasn't tough enough on players who got in trouble and as a result had begun to lose control of the program.

Four players were arrested in less than a two-month period earlier this season, including one, freshman Jeff Knox, who was dismissed from the team when he was charged for allegedly hitting his girlfriend.

Mr. Pederson stressed the Panthers' need for discipline off the field and was looking for a coach who he believed would bring it to the program and he was impressed by Mr. Haywood's system of discipline and strict rules.

Mr. Haywood spoke of early morning practices, players wearing sports coats and ties to away trips, no jewelry or hats and zero tolerance for missing academic commitments or tardiness for team functions.


Sadie Gurman: sgurman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878; Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com . Bill Schackner contributed to this report.


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