Posted on: December 19, 2010 7:02 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The last few weeks it seems like there's been a mass exodus of coaches leaving the MAC conference. Jerry Kill left Northern Illinois for Minnesota, Al Golden said goodbye to Temple to take the Miami job, and Mike Haywood left Miami (OH) to take over in Pittsburgh. So far this offseason Ball State was the only school in the conference to lose its head coach by choice, and now it has found a replacement.
Ball State announced on Sunday that it had hired Pete Lembo to take over the program.
"We are extremely excited to have Pete Lembo join the Ball State family,” said Ball State athletic director Tom Collins in a statement. “The search for our next football coach included talking to a number of people in the football world. Coach Lembo’s name and credentials continued to surface as an outstanding candidate for Ball State University. We are looking forward to his contribution to the program and looking forward to getting started in preparation for Ball State football 2011.”
Lembo comes to Ball State from Elon, where he went 35-22 in five seasons. Before that Lembo was the head coach at Lehigh, going 44-14 in five seasons. Ball State will be the first time Lembo has coached on the FBS level, either as a head coach or assistant. Of course, considering it's Ball State, he probably won't even notice the difference.
Posted on: December 17, 2010 12:59 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Mike Haywood was officially introduced as the head coach at Pitt yesterday, and won the press conference with his promise to make the Panthers a more disciplined, more unified team.
But as for winning the Panthers' BBVA Compass Bowl game against Kentucky, Haywood didn't have much to say about that, because he's not coaching the game. Dismissed coach Dave Wannstedt is, right?
Maybe not (emphasis added):
[Athletic director Steve] Pederson made it clear that although Haywood has been hired, the Panthers are Wannstedt's team until after the BBVA Compass Bowl Jan. 8. Wannstedt, forced to resign last week, has yet to decide whether he will coach the Panthers in that game.So, just to be clear, let's review the Panthers' bowl-coaching options:
1. Dave Wannstedt. May not coach in the bowl.
2. Mike Haywood. Will not coach in the bowl.
OK, so behind door No. 3 is almost certainly one of the current Wannstedt assistants -- defensive coordinator Phil Bennett even has head coaching experience from his days at SMU -- but even for a Jan. 8 bowl, practice must start within days. If Wannstedt himself doesn't take the helm, someone has to.
If Pederson wants this blogger's nickel's worth of free advice, Wannstedt's ambivalence about remaining in charge ought to indicate -- all by itself -- that he probably shouldn't be the guy in charge. It's a well-meaning gesture on Pederson's part to let him leave the job with some kind of dignity, but if a gesture he's not interested in accepting, it's time to move on. The Panthers' disappointing season and occasionally aimless-looking coaching search has already made Pitt look bad; an uninspired, unfocused, unprepared loss to a .500 Kentucky team will only make them look worse.
HT: TSK .
Posted on: December 15, 2010 8:36 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
According to multiple reports, this morning's suspicions that Mike Haywood would be Pittsburgh 's next coach have indeed been confirmed, and Haywood has been hired by Pittsburgh AD Steve Pederson today.
Haywood's pedigree includes a MAC championship at Miami University in only his second year atop the program; in his first year, the team went 1-11, and the eight-win turnaround was unmatched by any program in the FBS this year. Haywood also spent 14 years at major football schools LSU, Texas, and Notre Dame as a running backs coach; during his four years at Notre Dame, Haywood was also Charlie Weis' offensive coordinator.
During his career as an assistant coach, Haywood coached such tailbacks as Kevin Faulk, LaBrandon Toefield, Domanick Davis, Cedric Benson, and the talented but injury-plagued Armando Allen, and his experience at these "football factory" type of schools should allay any fears Pittsburgh fans may have about Haywood's recruiting abilities -- especially if all they're looking at is his last two years at Miami University.
Still, it doesn't seem apparent that Haywood has any meaningful connection to the Pittsburgh program or area, so one might not get the sense that this is a "destination" school for Haywood. Rather -- to borrow a term from the military -- this seems more like an "up or out" position for Haywood, where if he succeeds he's expected to move to a more prestigious program, and if he doesn't he's fired -- or, like his predecessor Dave Wannstedt, "gently encouraged" to resign at a 15-second press conference. Only time will tell.
Posted on: December 15, 2010 11:57 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
So you've asked the prettiest girl in class to go to the dance with you, and she said yes. You're excited. Today is the day of the dance, and you've got yourself a nice new suit, a haircut and you're wearing some generic knockoff of a very expensive cologne. You are ready to rock her world, but there's a problem. You go to pick her up in your mom's car, and when you get to her house her parents told you she's already left for the dance with the kid who lives down the street from you.
"But he already has a girlfriend," you yell, tears already beginning to form in your eyes.
Dejected, you get back into the car. You have two options now. You can feel sorry for yourself, go home and cry yourself to sleep, or you can go to that dance, find any other girl there and show her the time of her life. All while little Dana Ditchedyou stands and watches you. So what are you going to do?
Well, it looks like Pitt has chosen the latter.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Miami (OH) head coach Mike Haywood was on campus on Tuesday to interview for the head coaching job a day after Dana Holgorsen spurned Pitt for West Virginia.
Officially the job has not been offered to Haywood - officially - but he is in Pittsburgh and from everything I can tell based on who I have talked to this morning, he is the first candidate that has actually been brought to campus and it is likely he is now fully in the crosshairs of this thing.
So stay tuned, you, meaning Pitt fans, could have a coach in place shortly.
Haywood went 1-11 in his first season at Miami in 2009, but the Redhawks went 8-4 this season to win the MAC East, and defeated Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 12:39 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 12:40 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The eight announced finalists for the 2010 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award (as given out by the Football Writers Association of America) didn't offer much in the way of surprise; six of the nominees come from the current top seven teams in the BCS standings and all eight coach for teams in the BCS top ten. They are, from highest-ranked to lowest:
Chip Kelly, Oregon
Gene Chizik, Auburn
Gary Patterson, TCU
Chris Peterson, Boise State
Jim Harbaugh, Stanford
Bret Bielema, Wisconsin
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
A victory over Alabama (and the lack of further allegations against Cam Newton ) would probably make Chizik the front-runner by a nose over Kelly, since his team entered this season with lower expectations and a far worse record in 2009. But Kelly's mastery of his light-speed spread-option offense and dominating season would make him a fine choice, as would any of the finalists. The FWAA can't go wrong.
If there's anything to complain about here, it's that all eight choices follow the "good or great team becomes or stays great" model. But there's something to be said about taking a mediocre or even bad program to (or back to) respectability. Here's three coaches who also deserve some recognition for their work in 2010:
Mario Cristobal, FIU. It's easy to forget just how miserable the Golden Panthers' program was when Cristobal arrived in 2007, with FIIU fresh off an 0-12 season, the infamous Orange Bowl brawl with Miami , and NCAA sanctions. Three seasons later FIU, picked to finish eighth in their conference, will win the Sun Belt and play in their first-ever bowl game if they can hold serve at home against Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee State to end the season.
Ralph Friedgen, Maryland . The only reason the Fridge is even still employed by the Terps is because the school couldn't afford his buyout at the end of 2009, and it was no surprise when Friedgen's team was pegged for dead last in the ACC Atlantic this offseason. Instead of tuning out their supposedly lame-duck coach, though, the Terps have surged back to a 7-4 season with a big win vs. rivals Navy and road victories at Virginia and bowl-bound Boston College , putting them in contention for the division title as recently as last week.
Mike Haywood, Miami (Ohio) . It's hard to believe that the 7-4 Redhawks could win the MAC East when you consider how supremely hopeless they were in 2009, when they failed to score a single point until their third game and finished 1-11. In the MAC. But Miami served notice in a valiant season-opening effort against Florida that Haywood had made the absolute most of the offseason, and if they can claim an eighth win they'll have their most victories since 2004.