Tue Dec 23 04:46pm EST
Gently nudged from play-calling duties by Charlie Weis for the last three games of the regular season -- and gee, that worked out swell, huh? -- Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Haywood is taking over at the Ohio-based Miami, famed cradle of coaching legends like Red Blaik, Sid Gillman, Ara Parseghian, Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler before their big breaks at various Midwestern mega-schools. Not so high on that list is Shane Montgomery, who leaves Haywood with a program coming off its second 2-10 finish in three years.
Miami's actually a great job -- the Redskins/RedHawks aren't exactly awash in MAC championships lately (just one in the last 20 years, with Ben Roethlisberger under center in 2003), but aren't far removed from a run of 12 straight winning season, either, and that "Cradle of Coaches" bit is no joke. Beginning in 1949, nine of the ten Miami coaches between Woody Hayes and Montgomery went on to more prestigious jobs after a winning tenure in Oxford (on a less promising trend, the two Miami coaches before Montgomery, Randy Walker and Terry Hoeppner, both died well before their time after moving on to Northwestern and Indiana, respectively).
Haywood's longest stop as a coach was eight years on Gerry DiNardo's staff at LSU, but he's a Notre Dame guy -- he played for Lou Holtz and has spent the last four years there under Weis. If he wins quickly at Miami, his name will be very high on the initial list to step into Weis' beleaguered shoes in South Bend. But only if he wins.