masthead.jpg

December 7, 2010

Shows how much I know about the timing of these things, huh? I pushed that post out, and then had to spend the afternoon at my daughter’s dance performance. It was out in poor reception, so I didn’t even get some of the texts right away.

Pitt put out an official press release.

Dave Wannstedt announced today he will resign as head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh. Wannstedt informed Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson of his decision Tuesday.

He will remain at Pitt in the capacity of special assistant to the athletic director.

“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.”

It’s weird.

A year ago, there was dreamy/happy/rainbows & unicorns talk of Coach Wannstedt retiring down the road and getting bumped into the athletic department as some sort of special advisor enjoying basking in the glow of what he accomplished at Pitt, with OC Frank Cignetti taking over as head coach to carry on a return to greatness for Pitt football.

Now, Wannstedt  has “resigned”  much like Phil Fulmer at Tennessee and Johnny Majors in the 90s resigned at Pitt. A face-saving ploy that everyone knows is pure spin. Cignetti is serving as the interim head coach, trying to get the full-time position while fans are tossing any name out there but his.

I really didn’t think this was going to happen. It all seemed like a standard procedure. DC Bennett was going to be scapegoated. A few other position coaches would be sacrificed. All to give Wannstedt one more year to show 2010 was the aberration. Not to mention take another year off the contract and subsequent buyout.

I take no great joy in the end of Wannstedt’s time as Pitt’s head coach. It may be trite, and it will be repeated ad nauseum, but Wannstedt is a good guy. He truly loves Pitt and Pittsburgh, and everyone wanted to see him succeed. He was honorable in his time as head coach. Taking great care and pride in the “student” side of the student-athletetes for whom he was responsible. He was very good for the program in so many ways.

Simply put, though, he just wasn’t a very good head coach. More than issues with his style of play on either side of the ball. He was just not good on gameday coaching. For a coach that stressed mistake-free play and fundamentals, his teams rarely played that way for very long. In his six years, he did win more than he lost, but there were so many more losses than should have been.

I have no doubt, though, that what really forced the move to push Wannstedt out, was the widespread fanbase dissatisfaction. The administration had to know that after all the building and pushing to make this the big year, that they were looking at a debacle in 2011 in getting people to come to the game.

The apathy — which is far worse than anger — was starting to descend around the football program. A belief that the administration was going to stand pat and let things stay the way they are, and the helplessness that is felt when the general fanbase is ignored. That there was no real hope for more than finishing a couple games over .500 every year,

This move may cost the athletic department more than they would like, but the losses in 2011 started projecting to be far worse.





BigGuy,

Excellent point, that is the first question the prospective head coach should ask when he interviews.

Comment by shadyforpresident 12.08.10 @ 10:57 am

Teryl Austin, a great recruiter. Didn’t we just fire a great recruiter. Give me some head coach experience.

Comment by alcofan 12.08.10 @ 11:02 am

Those of you down on Leach have it all wrong. Leach is a great coach and he doesn’t put up with the crap Wannstedt was willing to. Yes, he is strict. He is not abusive. How would you like to be a coach (or teacher or principal) and have an obnoxious kid and his parent trying to take a bite out of your ass every second of the day. Craig James’ kid is a punk. Lazy, disrespectful punk. All Texas Tech was trying to do was to cheat Leach out of the pay he deserved. Look at Tech this year…toilet bowl.

Comment by TonyinHouston 12.08.10 @ 11:04 am

You showed Walt the door and “upgraded” to Wanny. Now that you have fired Wanny you had better upgrade. Anything less would be a travesty. Open up the purse strings and bring in someone like Stoops (OK) or Pelini. IF you are really serious that you want to win and do better than Wanny, then OPEN THE DAMN PURSE and pay for a QUALITY coach, not an “Up and comer,” or a retread.

You wanted Wanny gone, so now it’s time to pay the piper. Be damn serious and bring in a PROVEN winner. Everyone is throwing out these names like Austin, Peterson, Grimm and Holgorsen. Damn the torpedos, full steam ahead…go for the gold or join Duquesne’s conference.

You bring in Austin, Grimm or Holgorsen and you are going 7-5 or worse next year. NO ONE is coming in here and going 10-2 with a new offense and a new defense unless it’s a big name that’s going to really light a fire and change things.

The devil has called and he says it’s time to pay, so pay up and bring in the best. If it wasn’t Wanny, than it better be an upgrade.

Comment by WH 12.08.10 @ 11:07 am

Pitt doesn’t need to pay a ton of money for a great coach, they just need to be intelligent. My only requirement is that the new coach NOT be a Pittsburgh guy. People are so freaking dumb around here that they’d rather have someone local than someone who can actually put a great team together. I can’t live through 6 more years of blind hero worship just because someone was born within a 100 mile radius of the school.

Comment by J-Maile 12.08.10 @ 11:19 am

I think some need to slow down on the hand wringing and the Wanny remorse. No one is going to say he wasn’t a great guy and didn’t try to his best to win, graduate kids, and promote the University.

However, Wanny was only a marginally successful 24-18 in what is widely considered the poorest of the major 6 conferences. Beyond that, he was a less than mediocre 5-9 versus BCS competition.

If the Administration aspires to be better than average to less than average, this move HAD to be made. I was begining to wonder if the University was interested in seriously competing in football. Clearly, I was not alone in these thoughts as fan anger has been rapidly evolving into apathy…and that is the death knell of an athletic department. I am encouraged by this decision and look look forward to the next chapter of Pitt Panther Football.

Comment by ECH 12.08.10 @ 11:20 am

Of the potential candidates, e.g., Austin, Grimm, Holgorsen etc., which one will bring some all American recruits with him?

Comment by shadyforpresident 12.08.10 @ 11:21 am

“You people just don’t get it; the Big East is a step below the MAC.”

Exaggerate much?

The difference between Pitt fans and other fans: Other fans exaggerate to make things seem better for the team than they are. Pitt fans actually exaggerate to make things seem worse. Don’t wallow in some lame-ass “Whoa are us” attitude.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my Dad 12.08.10 @ 11:26 am

Jim Bollman. Offensive Coordinator for Ohio State. Smart, successful, and a good recruiter in Ohio and PA.

Comment by TPC1066 12.08.10 @ 11:30 am

Tom and BigGuy are on point.

Comment by matt42 12.08.10 @ 11:35 am

Jimbo, you are correct. Anyone who says that the Big East is a step below the MAC has zero credibility. Anything elase said by him cannot be taken seriously even if he meant the statement to be hyperbole.

Comment by BigGuy 12.08.10 @ 11:35 am

PITT has to become the flagship Big East football school, similiar to Va Tech in the ACC. They win the conference title more often than not.

Comment by Pittastic 12.08.10 @ 12:51 pm

dana holgorsen dana holgorsen if he comes you wont miss a game.offensive genius .

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.08.10 @ 1:34 pm

Lets be clear about this “resignation”, Wannesteadt did it the old fashioned way,….. he earned it! Now if he is REALLY still within the Pitt athletic organization then he should be doing damage control right now, still keeping contact with his recruits and insuring them that Pitt is still It. He actually IS good at that and should focus on recruiting at this point of transition if he wants to prove what a loyal Pitt Guy he is. Here is my dream, can you imagine the hype this program would get by having Bill Cowher hired to whip this team into shape. It would be a fricken media frenzy for a month! Hey, I’m allowed to dream, never thought my dream of having Wannestedt step down after this debacle of a season would happen either, but…..

Comment by Dr Tom 12.08.10 @ 2:10 pm

I can’t believe there are still people that are saying, “I think one more year would have been fair”, what, 7 years? Then next year, “he almost has it together, how bout one more?” Jeez allready!!

Comment by DAN 12.08.10 @ 3:02 pm

Dan, Dan 72, DeVanzo, Frankcan, and the many who stated that DW should be replaced, please respond to my earlier post. Simply put, you anticipated that DW’s performance next year would be unacceptable. What record did you anticipate from DW? For the new coach, what record would you find acceptable and what record would you find unacceptable?

Comment by BigGuy 12.08.10 @ 3:33 pm

As we ALL should know the future is a crap shoot.
I would hope that AD Pederson has someone or someone(s) who have already expressed interest in the HC job BEFORE he forced Wanny out the door.

Obviously with a hastily called News Conference late yesterday, something must have happened during their meeting that had Pederson asking Wanny to resign or ELSE. Pederson had to have asked Wanny to do something he wasn’t going to do.
When he refused he was asked to resign. What that might have been is indeed something interesting to think about.

Though DW didn’t win the so-called big games as often as he should have, remember this he did get Pitt into the Final rankings Top 15 in 2009, the first time that had happened since 1982 or 1983.
WH never came close to doing that !

Finally if Pitt wants to win big-time in football they’re going to have to ‘ante up’ some money like they did in basketball. Pitt basketball wasn’t much to speak of (except for a short period of time in the late ’80’s, early 90’s UNTIL they invested over $200 Million in building The Pete. Since I doubt they’re going to build an on campus football stadium in the near future, they need to invest the money on a Top Coach and his asst’s. It’s a lot cheaper than building an on campus stadium.

Comment by carolinapanther 12.08.10 @ 5:36 pm

Josh mcdaniels!?!?!?!?!?

Comment by panthers15090 12.08.10 @ 6:05 pm

Please no more former NFL coaches who underachieved, were fired or were forced to resign.
With all due respect to DW.

That eliminates, John Fox, Marvin Lewis & Josh McDaniels for starters. Although the first two haven’t been fired……YET!

Comment by carolinapanther 12.08.10 @ 6:58 pm

I overheard two people at the gym today whining about the dismissal of Wannstedt. One of them was very vocal about it and said Pitt made a terrible mistake.
The other said that Pitt fans live in a fantasy world of expecting every Pitt team to be the next coming of 1980.

It should be obvious that Wannstedt was never a good head coach at any level. He left Chicago and quit early in the 2004 season as Dolphins head coach, when that team was falling apart.

Pitt does not need a coach with head coaching experience at the college level, but Pitt does need a coach who can, well, coach. Coaching would involve teaching players not to make so many dumb mistakes, to hold onto the ball, not to use the “swinging gate”, etc.

Teryl Austin sounds good to me, not because he was at Pitt, but because of what he has done as a coach.

Comment by Penguins Fan 12.09.10 @ 5:34 pm

Powered by WordPress © PittBlather.com

Site Meter