Yikes, color me nervous about Mike Haywood going to Miami(Ohio) as the new head coach of the Redhaws. Don't get me wrong, I am rooting for Haywood to do well since he's an ND alum and has been treated unfairly during his stint as an assistant at ND, but I'm a little leery of bringing him into the fold at Miami.
What has Haywood done to earn this job?? Miami (Ohio) is the best school in the MAC academically, it's a very nice campus, and they have the best football tradition in the MAC by far with a great history of coaches who have come through the program either as a player or as a coach. Ara Parseghian, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Jim Tressel, Bill Mallory, John Harbaugh, Gary Moeller, Sean Payton, Terry Hoeppner, Randy Walker, etc. Not a bad list at all. Haywood has had middling success at best as an assistant at LSU, Texas, and ND, but I haven't seen anything out of him that seems to indicate that he's a rising star in the coaching profession. Miami should be able to get a young stud "up and comer" coach to run this program. Maybe someone who is doing some big time things as a coordinator somewhere. And somehow that translated into Mike Haywood?? A guy who hasn't been recruiting that well at ND and also has been demoted from his playcalling duties?? That's the best they could do??
There were some pretty good young coordinators who were sniffing around this job like the Illinois d-coordinator and the Michigan State o-coordinator and a couple NFL assistants, and yet Haywood is the hire. I don't really get it. Haywood has zero ties to Miami or Cincinnati, and I don't know if he has recruited much in the Ohio area. I don't know what is going on with the athletic director at Miami these days. He made a terrible hire with Shane Montgomery, and now he takes a huge flier on Haywood. I know Miami is trying to put themselves into this "Public Ivy" category, so maybe they thought hiring a black coach would be a politically correct thing to do for their image (especially since Miami has the J. Crew U. reputation). I just think that's an unfair thing to do to your football program to hire based on image, and it's going to be impossible to fire him if he turns into Karl Dorrell Junior.
Then again, Haywood has worked at the knee of Nick Saban and Mack Brown, and he has put guys like Darius Walker and Cedric Benson and Kevin Faulk into the NFL during his time as a running backs coach. I don't know, maybe Weis was holding him back, and he will blossom in Oxford. One thing he is going to have to do is hit the recruiting trail like a maniac and then get his players buying in.
For the Irish, this move is more of a relief than anything. Haywood's decision to leave gives Weis an opportunity to go out and get a proven offensive coordinator who can revamp this offense next year. I hope Weis uses this opportunity wisely.
I hope it works out for Haywood and Miami. If Haywood puts a spark in that program, maybe he wins some MAC titles and moves on to bigger and better things. I am certainly rooting for him, and he seems like a good guy. I just feel like Miami made a strange choice when there might have been better candidates out there.