Thursday’s Morning Links:
Pitt Football Finds A New Head Coach: Pittsburgh hired Miami of Ohio head coach Mike Haywood to lead the Panthers football team after head coach Dave Wannstedt was forced out last month. Although I understand the case for moving on past Wannstedt, one would think the Panthers would be able to lure a bigger name coach than Haywood. Especially since the Big East is only getting stronger with the addition of TCU in 2012. Haywood has no doubt done a great job at Miami of Ohio, but he doesn’t have the name, prestige, or past relationships with the level of recruits the Panthers need to go after. The Panthers will lose a number of quality players this season to the NFL Draft, so they need to hope they don’t have a rash of transfers as well. Pitt can still compete next year if a few of their key players develop, but it could be a beginning of a rebuilding era in Pitt football.
WVU Adds Their Future Coach: In a surprising move, the West Virginia Mountaineers hired Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen to be their offensive coordinator this season, and their head coach in 2012. Current head coach Bill Stewart still has 4 years on his contract, but that didn’t stop WVU from planning his retirement party. Apparently Stewart will take an administrative position, but it is obviously not his choice. If Stewart was on the verge of retiring, it would make sense to hire a ‘coach in waiting’ to ensure a succession plan for recruits as well as to prevent transfers, but this situation is just silly. I’m no Stewart fan, so I have no problem moving on from him, but this is the wrong way to handle it. Stewart has been successful since taking over for Rich Rodriguez in 2008 and if he adds another 10+ win season or wins a major BCS Bowl (or even the National Championship) can you really ‘retire’ that guy? Sure a big part of any success next year will be because of the offensive mind of Dana Holgorsen. But is that enough to move on from Stewart? Also, if the Mountaineers aren’t successful next year and have a 5 win season, can all the blame be placed on Stewart? Now I think the Mountaineers found the right man for the job overall, as Holgorsen is young, talented and apparently a great recruiter, but I do think they went about this the wrong way. This ends up being a great long term move for WVU, but in the short term I think they could regret it.
Heat Stay on Fire, Win Their 10th Straight Game: Just a couple weeks ago this team looked on the verge of collapse, but since then no one has been able to stop the Heat. Miami’s big three (James, Wade, and Bosh) have been playing great, and taking over games when they need to. Last night was Wade’s turn as he scored 17 of his team high 28 points in the 4th quarter. The Heat needed all of Wade’s points as the Cavs played them tough all game. Cleveland even closed Miami’s lead to within three with a minute remaining, but they couldn’t overcome Wade and the Heat. Miami is finally looking like the dominate team we all expected when James and company came to town. I think there are still a few overall questions with the Heat’s ability to go deep into the playoffs, but they should be fun to watch.