The veteran on the LSU coaching staff, Michael Haywood enters his eighth season with the Tigers this year. Haywood has served as LSU’s running backs coach for all eight years. Last season, he added the title of Special Teams Coordinator to his list of responsibilities.
During his seven prior seasons with the Tigers, Haywood has helped produce some of the finest running backs in school history.
In 2001, Haywood continued to develop sophomore running back LaBrandon Toefield as one of the nation’s top backs. Toefield tied an SEC record with 19 rushing touchdowns last year. Had he not gone down with a season-ending knee injury in the first half against Tennessee in the SEC Championship game, Toefield would have topped the 1,000-yard mark. Toefield finished with 992 yards rushing and 230 carries on his way to earning First-Team All-SEC honors.
Domanick Davis proved to be the perfect complement to Toefield as he rushed for 406 yards and five touchdowns during the regular-season and then added 122 yards and a Sugar Bowl record four rushing touchdowns in Toefield’s absence in the 47-34 win over Illinois.
As Special Teams Coordinator, Haywood had the Tigers among the best in the SEC in nearly every category. LSU ranked third in the SEC and eighth nationally in net punting (39.6 yards per punt) and the Tigers were tops in the league in kickoff coverage, allowing just 15.2 yards per return.
Individually, LSU’s Davis earned Second-Team All-SEC honors after leading the league in punt return yards (13.8). Punter Donnie Jones ranked fourth in the SEC and 19th nationally with 43.7 yards per punt.
In 2000, Toefield, who was named first team Freshman All-America by the Sporting News, rushed for 682 yards and five touchdowns despite missing two games with an injury. Toefield’s top two rushing games came against two of the nation’s best run defenses as he had 120 yards rushing and one TD against Tennessee and 119 yards and a pair of scores, including the game-winner in overtime, against Mississippi State. Davis rushed for 445 yards and five touchdowns for the Tigers
Haywood was instrumental in developing Kevin Faulk and Rondell Mealey into two of the most productive running backs in school history. Faulk left LSU with virtually every rushing record, while Mealey capped his career ranked in the top 10 in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Both were chosen in the NFL draft after their respective senior seasons, Faulk going to New England in the second round and Mealey in the seventh round to Green Bay.
While at Ball State, Haywood was the position coach for three All-Mid-American Conference players.
Brian Oliver was selected All-MAC in 1993, then Tony Nibbs and Michael Blair earned all-league honors in 1994. In addition, Blair was the MAC’s Freshman of the Year in 1993 and went on to play for the Green Bay Packers of the NFL.
Haywood started his coaching career at Minnesota as a graduate assistant in 1988, then went to Army as an assistant coach in 1989 and 1990. In 1989 he coached the defensive secondary before taking on the outside linebackers in 1990.
He then went to Ohio University in 1991 and coached there for two years, tutoring the outside linebackers there as well.
As a collegiate player, Haywood earned four letters at Notre Dame, playing wide receiver as a freshman, then moving to cornerback where he started in each of his final three seasons.
Haywood, a native of Houston, Texas, is a 1982 graduate of St. Thomas High School in Houston.
The Haywood File
Year at LSU: Eighth (appointed Jan. 14, 1995)
Birthdate: Feb. 26, 1964, at Houston, Texas
High School: St. Thomas High School, Houston, Texas
Alma Mater: Notre Dame ’86
1988 Minnesota (graduate assistant coach)
1989-90 Army (secondary 1989; outside linebackers/special teams 1990)
1991-92 Ohio (outside linebackers/special teams)
1993-94 Ball State (receivers/special teams 1993; running backs/special teams 1994)
1995- LSU (running backs 1995- ; special teams coord. 1997-98, 2001-)