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Pitt makes it official: Wannstedt ‘resigns’ as head coach

Dave Wannstedt AP

(Wink wink.  Nudge nudge.)

Pittsburgh made official what was reported a little earlier today, albeit with a slightly different spin.

Per the school in a press release, Dave Wannstedt “resigned” as the Panthers’ head coach.  According to the school, Wannstedt “informed” Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson of “his” “decision” Tuesday.

“The past six years have been among the most gratifying of my entire career,” said Wannstedt, a 1974 graduate of Pitt and former standout offensive tackle for the Panthers. “To be the head coach at my university was the realization of a lifelong dream. It has been an honor and privilege to serve Pitt and its football program.

“I’ve always told our players that the University of Pittsburgh will mean more to them than just four years of school and football. It will influence and inspire everything they do long after their last class and final game. I know that firsthand. I owe so much of my life to the education and experiences I had here. Pitt has always been, and will continue to be, an incredibly special place for my family and me.”

“On behalf of the University of Pittsburgh, I’d like to thank Coach Wannstedt for his passionate and committed service the past six years,” Pederson said. “This has never been just a job for Dave. He is wholeheartedly committed to Pitt and its people. We are greatly appreciative of his efforts to build a strong program on and off the field.”

Wannstedt, the school said, will remain at Pitt in the capacity of special assistant to the athletic director.

In six years at the school, Wannstedt compiled a 42-31 record over all and 24-18 in conference play.  After going bowl-less his first three seasons, his Panthers had qualified for postseason games the past three years.  This year was his only Big East champiosnhip, although it was a co-championship shared with UConn — the conference’s representative in the BcS bowls — and West Virginia.

It’s unclear who will coach the Panthers in the BBVA Compass Bowl Jan. 8.

With Wannstedt’s “resignation”, there are now seven Div. 1-A programs searching for a new head coach: Miami, Vanderbilt, Ball State, Kent State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Northern Illinois and Pittsburgh.

UPDATED 6:14 p.m. ET: We’ve been informed that offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. is expected to take over the reins of the team through the allotted bowl practices and into the bowl game while the search for a permanent head coach is ongoing.

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11 Responses to “Pitt makes it official: Wannstedt ‘resigns’ as head coach”
  1. burntorangehorn says: Dec 7, 2010 6:34 PM

    Is Pittsburgh really a program where they should set the standard higher than a share of a Big East championship?

  2. dhardy8207 says: Dec 7, 2010 7:47 PM

    @ JT:

    You posted an article here a week or so back that he and Gruden and another were choices for the Miami job. Since Gruden has been insistent he’s not the man for the job what of the chances Wannstedt could end up at Miami?

  3. Ben Kercheval says: Dec 7, 2010 7:47 PM


    I think Pitt has a pretty rich tradition in football. You can still get athletes in W. Pennsylvania/Ohio

    Also, not that this means much now, but the Big East benefits when Pitt is good.

  4. burntorangehorn says: Dec 7, 2010 7:55 PM

    Rich in tradition as far as this area of the country goes, sure, but Wanny’s been doing fairly well consdering that he’s in the football black hole that exists east of Ann Arbor and north of Blacksburg.

  5. Ben Kercheval says: Dec 7, 2010 8:56 PM


  6. habibthomas says: Dec 8, 2010 2:08 AM

    “Resigns” that such a nice word for “fired”

  7. crosberger says: Dec 8, 2010 7:36 AM

    Black hole? You must be kidding. Western Pennsylvania high school football has a fanstastic history. While it has slipped to Florida, California, etc., it still is rich with talent. There are something like 28 NFL quarterbacks during the period 1995 – 2005 that were from Pitt’s back yard, and a host of NFL linebackers as well. The problem is, they’re all going to Penn State or Ohio State or further away. Wannie was a great guy, but did not do much to return the program to what people in Pittsburgh (who remember Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino, Mark May, etc.) expect.

    I went to school there, I remember reading about Pitt’s 3 consecutive 11 win seasons. We still hope that we can get back to something close to to that. Wannie was not going to make that happen. Glad he’s still with the school though.

  8. polegojim says: Dec 8, 2010 9:32 AM

    Too bad, always liked Dave.

    He’s a man committed to the job at hand, not just a check casher.

  9. fatguystrangler says: Dec 8, 2010 10:05 AM

    Wanstedt has left this program in a heckuva lot better shape than before his arrival. As other people have mentioned, he recruited exceptionally well (Rivals has their current class #16 – not sure how that will hold since he’s gone, though; but, alas, recruiting rankings mean next-to-nothing). My concern for Pitt is I hope they have a plan for new coach and are not putting all their eggs in one basket.

    No reason this school can’t contend for Big East titles every season.

  10. blitz4848 says: Dec 8, 2010 10:56 AM

    Hell, it’s The Big East-ANYONE can contend for the title every season……..

  11. burntorangehorn says: Dec 8, 2010 11:51 AM

    crosberger–I really don’t mean to disparage your homeland, but living here in the mid-Atlantic, football (especially college) appears to be a complete afterthought. I would guess that this is why Penn State’s the only team in that area I mentioned that has come close to championship contention in recent years.

    Having grown up in Kansas and Texas, I’ve noticed there’s really not another game in town. Basketball can’t get much traction there. Baseball gets a little, but it’s still an afterthought. Again, I’m talking about college football. Obviously pro football has more popularity in this region, but pro football is for amateur fans.

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