Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Haywood homeward bound? | by Pat

As the latest go-round of coaching musical chairs hits full speed, ND OC and RB coach Mike Haywood's name has been popping up for a few different jobs. It's not the first year that Haywood has been mentioned as a candidate; he interviewed with Minnesota last year before they settled on Tim Brewster. This year however his name has come up for a few different jobs with one in particular listing him as a possible favorite.

Briefly mentioned as a candidate for the open Northern Illinois job, Haywood is now a serious option for the Houston Cougars. Their previous coach, Art Briles, took the Baylor job and now Houston is looking at native son Haywood as a possible replacement. Haywood interviewed with the school's athletic director and so far is the only candidate to interview with the school. There doesn't appear to be a timetable for a decision, but we should all find out in the very near future if he'll be moving back to his home state of Texas. When contacted by the Houston Chronicle about coaching there, Haywood was adamant about his interest.

"I think the University of Houston is a great institution, and (I) would very much like to be a serious candidate for the head coaching job," Haywood told the Houston Chronicle. "I would love the opportunity to help them carry on the success they've had and to realize their dreams and ambitions."
The Chronicle titled the article "Notre Dame assistant leads pack in UH coach search" but that might be a bit presumptuous on their part. Later in the article Haywood's competition is mentioned.
Haywood is in the mix with candidates who include former Southern Miss coach Jeff Bower, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Sumlin, former Georgia Tech and Dallas Cowboys head coach Chan Gailey, Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen and current staff members Chris Thurmond and Tony Fitzpatrick. Thurmond is serving as interim coach as the Cougars prepare for the Texas Bowl, which will be played Dec. 28 at Reliant Stadium.
There has also been recent news that Houston might be looking at former Houston coach Jark Pardee and former Houston star David Klinger as his OC.

Charlie spoke about Haywood's chances in his latest press conference and talked about the benefits Haywood would have as head coach. Charlie also discussed how he's keeping the assistants busy in the December recruiting rush.
Q. When you look at your staff right now, (indiscernible)?

COACH WEIS: Well, obviously you're talking about the University of Houston, and remember (offensive coordinator/running backs coach) Michael (Haywood) is from Houston. I think that sometimes in the coaching carousel there's times that guys get into a mix for a reason, and any time a job comes open in your hometown where you know all the high school coaches, and you know, have relationships with them, and you played high school football there, I think that that always bodes well for your chance for success because sometimes you go to a place and the chance for being successful isn't that great, but it's always -- obviously the main line for success or the best way to be successful is to get good football players, and if you have good relationships with all the people in your hometown, that will be a good place to start.

Q. And about Mike Haywood potentially leaving, do you make sure you have more than one coach that has a relationship with the kids?

COACH WEIS: Absolutely, and that would be true with any kid that we're involved in. Absolutely. As a matter of fact, one thing, for example, this month every kid will be seen by both the recruiting coach and their position coach and possibly a coordinator, as well. Every week between the head coach, the recruiting coach, the position coach and the coordinator, they might be seen by four people just in the month of December.
It's not much of a surprise that the coaches will be visiting so many recruits. ND's season is over so they might as well devote all their energy to keeping this recruiting class going. But it is also pretty clear that Charlie is prepping the recruits for the possibility of coaching changes. The more the recruits become familiar with multiple members of the staff, the easier the transition should one or more switch jobs in the near future.

If Haywood does get the job, he'll be the first ND offensive coordinator in 11 years to go from ND to his own head coaching job. The last was Holtz OC Dave Roberts after the '96 season. (Urban Meyer did leave for the Bowling Green head job, but he was only ND's WR coach at the time) Roberts left ND for Baylor, the school that just hired Houston's former coach and created the opportunity for Haywood.