Pittsburgh Pittsburgh fired football coach Mike Haywood on Saturday, saying he could not continue in the job he held for only 21⁄2 weeks because of his arrest on a domestic-violence charge.
Haywood was released Saturday from St. Joseph County Jail in Indiana on $1,000 cash bond, said an officer at the jail who declined to give her name, after the charge was upgraded from a misdemeanor to felony domestic battery in the presence of a minor.
Within hours of Haywood’s afternoon release, Pittsburgh put out a statement from Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, saying Haywood had been dismissed, “effective immediately,” and the school was reopening its search.
“To be clear, the university’s decision is not tied to any expectation with respect to the terms on which the legal proceeding now pending in Indiana might ultimately be concluded,” Nordenberg said in the statement. “Instead, it reflects a strong belief that moving forward with Mr. Haywood as our head coach is not possible under the existing circumstances.”
Pitt moved swiftly to oust Haywood following an arrest that sullied a university that is proud of its Big Ten-like academics. It also raised questions why Haywood — who had only two seasons as a mid-major head coach, including a one-win season — was chosen Dec. 16 following a brief search.
Haywood’s hiring by athletic director Steve Pederson was greeted unenthusiastically by fans, boosters, alumni and students who questioned why a school with annual Top 25 aspirations hired him away from mid-major Miami (Ohio). Dave Wannstedt, forced to resign last month following a disappointing 7-5 season, had coached two NFL teams before his 2004 hiring.
According to Nordenberg’s statement, Pitt will reopen its search during the same week the Panthers (7-5) — the Big East preseason favorites — are preparing to play Kentucky (6-6) in the Compass Bowl on Jan. 8.
Haywood was arrested about 3 p.m. Friday after a custody issue developed with a woman with whom Haywood has a child, police said. The unidentified woman told police that Haywood grabbed her by the arm and neck and pushed her as she tried to leave the home that Haywood owns in South Bend, Ind., where he once was a Notre Dame assistant.
Bills re-sign Merriman
Buffalo, N.Y. — Don’t turn out the lights on Shawne Merriman yet in Buffalo.
The Bills announced Saturday that they’ve re-signed the former star pass-rusher despite a nagging Achilles’ tendon injury that prevented him from playing a game in Buffalo over the final two months of the season. The signing, confirmed by team spokesman Scott Berchtold, came a a day before Buffalo (4-11) closes its season at the New York Jets.
NU game delayed by blizzard
Lincoln, Neb. — The North Dakota-Nebraska men’s basketball game scheduled for today in Lincoln has been postponed because of bad weather. The game has been moved to 7 p.m. Monday. Tickets for today’s game will be honored. The Nebraska athletic office says blizzard conditions prevented the North Dakota players from leaving Grand Forks on Saturday afternoon.
Stand toss nets Pierce fine
New York — The NBA has fined Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce for throwing an object into the stands. NBA Executive Vice President Stu Jackson announced the $15,000 penalty Saturday. The league says the incident occurred in the first quarter of Boston’s 95-83 victory at the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.
League fines Van Gundy
New York — Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has been fined $35,000 for his comments about the officiating in Orlando’s 112-103 victory over the New York Knicks on Thursday. NBA Executive Vice President Stu Jackson announced the penalty on Saturday.
Juco quarterback shot, killed
Brainerd, Minn. — Dominique Corder, a standout quarterback at a community college in Brainerd, Minn., was shot and killed early Saturday in his hometown of Indianapolis, police said.
Corder, 20, who led Central Lakes College to a 10-2 record this season, was shot about 12:40 a.m. Indianapolis police spokeswoman Linda Jackson said Corder was seen talking to someone in an SUV and then was shot in the abdomen. He died at a hospital.