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Miami football coach Haywood headed to Pitt

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Miami University head football coach Mike Haywood looks on during a team practice. Miami has made the biggest improvement in terms of victories in college football this year with its 9-4 record.
Photo by Robert Leifheit/Contributing Photographer Miami University head football coach Mike Haywood looks on during a team practice. Miami has made the biggest improvement in terms of victories in college football this year with its 9-4 record.

RedHawks' defensive backs coach will lead team in GoDaddy.com Bowl.

By Pete Conrad, Staff Writer Updated 7:46 AM Thursday, December 16, 2010

OXFORD — Miami University football coach Michael Haywood has accepted the head coaching position at the University of Pittsburgh, a source close to the Miami athletic department said Wednesday night.

Haywood and Miami Athletic Director Brad Bates met with Miami’s players late Wednesday night to inform them of Haywood’s decision, according to the source, who said defensive backs coach Lance Guidry will become interim head coach for the RedHawks’ game against Middle Tennessee State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl, to be held Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala.

Haywood, who coached Miami University to a dramatic turnaround this season, has agreed to a five-year contract, according to ESPN.com. A story in Wednesday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Haywood was interviewed by Pitt last week and was the first candidate who was brought back for a second interview.

Haywood, this year’s Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year, will become Pitt’s first black head football coach. He replaces Dave Wannstedt, who resigned after six seasons.

Efforts to reach Haywood on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Earlier on Wednesday, Miami senior safety Jordan Gafford said he and his teammates were aware of reports Haywood might be the next Pittsburgh coach and they had been asked not to comment. Gafford did say, though, that he would be happy for Haywood should he get such a major coaching position.

Miami has held one practice since its victory over NIU and its scheduled practice for Friday morning has been cancelled due to the anticipated inclement weather.

Haywood is in his second season with the RedHawks and has gained national recognition for turning around a program that finished 1-11 last year.

Miami has made the biggest improvement in terms of victories in college football this year with its 9-4 record.

The RedHawks won the MAC Championship Game with a 26-21 upset over Northern Illinois, which was ranked No. 24 by the Associated Press at the time.

Since then, Miami has received eight points in both major Top 25 polls, which puts the RedHawks 29th in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll and 30th in the AP poll.

Haywood, 46, was an assistant coach at seven universities before coming to Miami.

He was the offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Notre Dame (2005-08), where he was named NCAA Division I-A Assistant Coach of the Year in 2005.

He also coached at Texas (2003-04), LSU (1995-2002), Ball State (1993-94), Ohio (1991-92), Army (1989-90) and Minnesota (1988).

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