Mike Haywood Fired: Could Rich Rodriguez End Up At Pittsburgh?
In one of the shortest head coaching tenures in college football history, Mike Haywood was fired as the Pittsburgh coach before he even coached a game for the Panthers.
And as pointed out by ESPN's Bruce Feldman on Twitter, Haywood's 14-day tenure is only about 16,300 days shy of Joe Paterno's at rival Penn State.
For the second time this season, Pitt is looking for a new head coach. And ironically, the answer to the Panthers' problem could be fired within a matter of hours.
Embattled Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez will likely be searching for a new job after his embarrassing 52-14 Gator Bowl defeat to Mississippi State today and three underachieving seasons.
Rodriguez, who left West Virginia for the Michigan job following the 2007 regular season, could be headed back to the Big East, this time for the Mountaineers' biggest rival.
Let's take a look at the most likely candidates for the Pittsburgh job.
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After an embarrassing 52-14 Gator Bowl loss to Mississippi State and three bad seasons at Michigan, Rich Rodriguez will almost certainly be sent packing from Ann Arbor.
There's no doubting Rodriguez's potential, which he clearly exhibited at West Virginia, but he could never put all the pieces together at Michigan.
RichRod will definitely coach again, and this opening couldn't be more convenient.
Pitt is a good program, but it doesn't come with all the stress and pressure that the job at Michigan entails.
He would be returning to a league that he knows well—he will probably further piss off West Virginia fans—and will have an opportunity to win the league right away.
Pitt would get a bargain as well, snatching in a coach with major-conference experience and a coach who has brought a Big East team to a BCS bowl.
For the Panthers, and Rodriguez for that matter, this is the safest route to secure a successful future.
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Friedgen has had an odd turn of events in the past months.
He was fired from Maryland despite winning ACC Coach of the Year honors and his bowl game because the Terrapins suddenly think their football program is as prestigious as USC or Texas.
Friedgen is on the older side at 63, but would provide the Panthers with stability for awhile.
Again, Pitt would get an experienced head coach who has put together a solid program in a BCS conference.
Age will likely be a factor that discounts Friedgen from consideration, but he can't be overlooked as a possibility, especially with his long, successful resume.
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After a disappointing 7-5 season at Miami, Shannon was fired by the Hurricanes, who ended the season with a humbling 33-17 Sun Bowl loss to Notre Dame.
Shannon never revived the Miami program, failing to win a bowl game in his tenure, and struggled with a talented, but inconsistent offense in 2010.
Shannon's failure to meet high expectations and deliver on the big stage are certainly problems, but Pitt is in no situation to be picky.
They would receive a coach who has experience at a major conference school and someone who has exceeded their recent results.
Shannon may not be the perfect fit at Pittsburgh, but he's a solid backup who would still put the Panthers in position to win the Big East.
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Ellerson has quietly put together an impressive resume of building up programs in a short amount of time, which is much of what attracted Pittsburgh to Haywood.
He led Army to its first bowl victory in 25 years, defeating SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl, and previously helped build Cal Poly into an FCS power.
With Ellerson, Pitt would be taking more of a risk, hiring a coach who doesn't have major conference experience. However, they weren't afraid of going after Haywood, who came to Pittsburgh from Miami (Ohio).
Ellerson is a strong leader who certainly has a proven track record of rebuilding programs, and despite his lack of experience in a BCS conference, he would be a good fit for the Panthers.
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Lynch was recently fired at Indiana, despite finishing the 2010 season off with a win against in-state rival Purdue. His teams were very good on offense, especially in the passing game, but were suspect, to say the least, on defense.
Lynch led the Hoosiers to a bowl game in 2007, bringing hope to Bloomington that he could revive a struggling football program. However, he couldn't field a .500 team in his final three seasons.
This would have to be a major backup option for Pitt because of Lunch's recent struggles. However, he would have better talent and resources to work with in Pittsburgh and has experience as a BCS conference coach.
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Bradley has long been considered a top choice to be Joe Paterno's successor at Penn State.
However, with the announcement that Paterno will return to Happy Valley next season, the Nittany Lions' defensive coordinator may be looking for this type of promotion.
Bradley already understands recruiting in Pennsylvania and could bring a very impressive defensive resume to Pittsburgh.
He is a proven winner, and despite Penn State's troubles this season, the defense was still a strength for the Nittany Lions.
Because he doesn't have head coaching experience, Bradley is a bit of a risk for the Panthers, but his expertise as a coordinator can't be overlooked in Pitt's coaching search.