The two top questions among Pitt fans right now are who will fill out Michael Haywood's coaching staff, and what will happen with recruiting.
The recruiting side of Michael Haywood's hire on Thursday has many different sides. Will Haywood honor all the scholarships offered by the previous staff? Will he go out and recruit new areas, and--always the million dollar question when a new coach is hired at Pitt--will he build the foundation of his recruiting classes with players from western Pennsylvania?
Haywood answered all of those things on Thursday. He confirmed that he will honor all the scholarships that have been offered for the 2011 recruiting class. On the heels of that, Haywood sounds eager keep all the 2011 verbal commits intact. Haywood said Thursday that he'd like to have eight assistants hired by the end of the weekend. It would be a huge lift to him personally not to have to worry about interviewing people, and worrying about hiring people. More importantly, he has to have those assistants in place by the end of the weekend, otherwise he won't be able to get a word in with any recruits until January 3, after the NCAA's mandated dead period ends.
"We're going to spend time talking to several assistant coaches, and we're going to start on recruiting because recruiting is the bloodline" Haywood said. "What really is benefical for us, is that as we look at the recruiting board, there are a lot of young men with which we have some familiarity with. It will be a lot comfortable for us to go into the home."
With that familiarity, and that comfort level Haywood is talking about, he feels confident about then going out and keeping the current crop of Pitt commits.
"The other thing that's important to find out is what gentlemen are wavering a little bit," Haywood said. "We've received information that certain universities have gone into these gentlemen's home. It's an opportunity for us at this time to really approach those guys, and keep them in the fold."
Going forward, as he will also look to get a good jump on the 2012 class, and in the future classes. There, Haywood talks about what areas are important to him in recruiting. The way he describes it, he is treating Pitt as a national name. Traditional states such as New Jersey, Ohio and Florida will remain. Haywood mentioned some new states that either Pitt hasn't been to in awhile, or states that Pitt typically doesn't recruit at all.
The bottom line is that Haywood is treating Pitt as a national name, in regards to his recruiting approach. Being a Notre Dame grad, and assistant at other national programs such as LSU, Texas and Notre Dame, he knows of no other approach.
"We're going to recruit Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, dab a little bit in Michigan and Illinois," Haywood said. "Then, we're going to go down south into Florida, Louisiana and Texas."
Wherever they go, the foundation of his recruiting classes will start in western Pennsylvania.
"It is important for us that we start off recruiting today, that we start off in western PA, as our home base, and we make sure that we keep these young men at home," Haywood said. "It's about being in certain areas over time; making sure you have the appropriate coaches that have relationships with high school coaches. It's amazing, the number of text messages and phone calls that I receive from western PA coaches, being at Notre Dame; also from a few of the players we signed at Miami."