Former Coach Haywood seeking millions in suit against Pitt

By Lauren Kirschman

Former Pitt football coach Michael Haywood filed suit today against Pitt in federal court,… Former Pitt football coach Michael Haywood filed suit today against Pitt in federal court, seeking millions in damages from the University.

The complaint in the suit said that the University breached its contract and violated federal law when the school fired him in January, the Buzbee Law Firm announced today.

The complaint in the suit states that Pitt “rushed to judgment and fired the coach hours after a disputed domestic incident in South Bend, Ind.,” and continues on to state that University officials didn’t listen when Haywood attempted to refute the allegations.

Pitt also didn’t live up to the agreement to buyout Haywood’s $300,000 contract with Miami University of Ohio, the lawsuit asserts. Haywood

Pitt spokesman John Fedele declined comment, saying the University does not comment on pending litigation.

The clerk’s office at the U.S. District Court for Western Pennsylvania confirmed that the suit had been filed.

Tony Buzbee and Christopher Johns of the Buzbee Law Firm in Houston and Rolf Louis Patberg of Paterbeg, Carmody & Ging, P.C., in Pittsburgh represent Haywood.

“We allege Pitt officials ignored their contractual obligations and terminated Mr. Haywood in violation of his Constitutional rights before he could refute the abuse allegations,” Buzbee said in a release from the Buzbee Law Firm. “No one in the Pitt administration or athletics department bothered to adequately investigate the situation or speak with Mr. Haywood directly. Had they done so, they would have quickly determined that Mr. Haywood’s employment should not have been terminated.”

The release states that Haywood would have received up to $7.5 million plus incentives from Pitt and that Haywood is looking for at least $3.75 million in damages. According to the release, Haywood’s contract entitled him to $750,000 for each year remaining on the contract if the University fired him “without just cause.”

Haywood will also seek exemplary damages, attorneys’ fees and court costs, the release said.

“The allegations, as initially reported, were completely false,” Haywood said in the release. “In the midst of an argument with my son’s mother, I acted to defensively protect my son and did nothing violent. This lawsuit is intended to set the record straight and help restore my career and reputation.”