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.

Yup. Ya nailed it.

Comment by Spanky 12.07.10 @ 7:28 pm

Agree 100%

Wanny is one of us (PITT guy) and for that we can appreciate him taking the job when he probably didnt need to. At the time it was a much needed relief to Walt Harris and brough respectability and credibility back to PITT. I can still remember his speech when they announced that he had accepted the job. Excitement for sure. For this Dave should be thanked. He gave us a well needed shot in the arm when the morale was low after Walt and his agent trashed the university and program.

While Dave never reached the expected level of success on the field that so many hoped for he will be remembered for a few very good things

1) It felt good to say PITT. He instilled confidence in the university

2) He could recruit and he didnt take a day off hitting the road to meet players and H.S. coaches. Remember how Walt had destroyed those lines. Dave got them back on track.

3) He set the bar high as it related to expectation. Sad that this is what ultimately go him fired. WE NOW BELIEVE THAT WE DESERVE TO BE A WINNER. Dave made us believe this.

4) He was loved by Alumni initially and I believe that he will be well received moving forward now that he departed in a very respectable manner.

Thanks Dave Wannstedt for your commitment ot the University. Sorry that you couldnt get it done.

Comment by PITT fan in Atlanta 12.07.10 @ 7:37 pm

Ok, start the drum-roll please…

Let the guessing start on who will be the next coach.

Comment by Gas 12.07.10 @ 7:49 pm

Well, our recruiting class is falling apart. Hopefully a new coach can be announced very soon.

Comment by Yuni 12.07.10 @ 7:50 pm

PITT fan in Atlanta….very nicely summarized. Dave did all those things and then some! He set the bar high for whoever is coming in on working hard on the recruiting trail and running a program that all of us are proud to support.

Chas your summary also hit the nail on the head. Next year would have been a fiscal disaster…they had no choice. With the right hire everyone is keeping their tickets and is back in the “hope” game!

Comment by FG 12.07.10 @ 8:03 pm

First off, I, like everybody else, am legitimately saddened by the downfall of a good, fellow Pitt alumni who truly loved his town and his alma mater.

Second, though, I @#*@# love the panic storm this is setting off up I-99. And I couldn’t agree with Black Shoe Diaries more (link to Tom Bradley may well be the best man for the job. And losing Tom Bradley would deeply hurt Penn State.

To quote BSD, “Without him [Tom Bradley], we’re an 84 year-old man, his son, and a defensive line coach.”

Comment by Lee in Altoona 12.07.10 @ 8:16 pm

I will hate it to no end if we lose all the great NJ and Eastern PA recruits to Rutgers and PSU .. especially when PSU is having an all time lousy class

Comment by wbb 12.07.10 @ 8:27 pm

I am half happy-half sad tonight. I’ve done quite a bit of thinking on this subject since West Virginia, where I froze my ass off sitting with a thousand WVA fans in the upper deck of Heinz Field that day.
Jesus of Nazerath is needed to come in and create excitement. My fear is that they will make a deal with the Devil and bring in someone who will make an instant splash … bolt, and then leave nothing but burnt earth for the program.
I would have had a sit down with Wanny and told him to hire a DC and let the OC run the friggin offense … without his input.
Bad move by the AD. Never,ever, make emotional decisions like this. It is clear Wanny did not want to leave.

Comment by pitt79 12.07.10 @ 8:29 pm

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Ennis, Chas Rich. Chas Rich said: Belated thoughts on Wannstedt's resignation/firing. link to […]

History Note: This reminds me of Gen Geo Meade, Union Army of the Potomac, Civil War. Great organizer, loved by fellow officers and common soldiers but could not start or win an offensive battle. Union armies sucked until no-nonsense Gen U.S. Grant took charge.

I have liked DW but sorrowed for awhile now that he’d never take Pitt to the top………

Comment by mtoolmn 12.07.10 @ 8:30 pm

mtoolmn- would debate the organizer part, but the rest of the analogy is spot on. You have to win the battles …sometimes as in Grant’s case it means huge losses and lots of pissed soldiers…the players loved Wanny and the team had no discipline…and they lost in every conceivable manner. Just like with Meade, who withdrew his forces on the verge of victory after victory to save lives, Wanny grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory with his conservative calls.

Great analogy again…

Comment by Dan 72 12.07.10 @ 8:36 pm

Being a modest person, I will only take partial credit for mentioning Bradley first (I kid I kid)

Seriously though. I had long thought Bradley was a very good candidate during the last time around. He hits the recruiting trail just as hard as anyone else at the top. He has been holding State Penn together for years now and that says a lot. He’s hungry for full control of a program and has enough sense to get out of his own way and hire the right people to make him look that much better.

My vote would definitely be with Bradley.

Comment by Cool Hand Nuke 12.07.10 @ 8:37 pm

Donald Trump Says Hire Mike Leach. He’s talking to Miami but why shouldn’t we listen instead?

link to

But a bunch of people on here now a lot more then “The Donald”

Comment by Tony In Harrisburg 12.07.10 @ 8:41 pm

Well put Chas and PITT Fan in Atlanta. I was not a fan of Wanny as a coach but admired him for the other things he brought to Pitt which you both touched on. Now he has a chance to do what he does well, and we have a chance to get excited about Pitt football again.

Comment by TampaT 12.07.10 @ 8:42 pm

[…] Wannstedt resigns/re-assigned/fired (Pitt Blather) […]

Um…mtoolmn and Dan? Seriously? A Civil War analogy? @#%*@#! nerds.

Besides, Meade was reviled for his temper (remember the “snapping turtle” nickname?). And even though he wasn’t totally “offensive” at Gettysburg, didn’t Meade win the biggest battle of the War? Doesn’t that count for something?

Now pardon me while I go beat myself senseless for knowing enough about the Civil War to even engage in this pitiful discussion.

Comment by Lee in Altoona 12.07.10 @ 9:07 pm

I give a lot of thanks to Wanny. He is a Pitt guy by every definition imaginable. Although we came up short on our ultimate goal, Wanny did a lot of good for the program. I hope that he is happy and satisfied with whatever capacity he remains with the program as.

What do you guys think is a timeframe for the replacement to be announced???

Comment by JAM 05 Pitt 12.07.10 @ 9:07 pm

I’d like to see them take a run at Bradley, but my hopes aren’t high. He’s hung around at PSU this long, the job he’s waiting for is right around the corner and I don’t think he’d leave that.

I’d love to see them talk to Leach. His offense is modern and then some, his teams are always better than the sum of it’s parts, and he’d be a name to excite the fanbas, even if he doesn’t stick around. Plus, with how comfortable the players seemed this year it might be good to bring on someone to put the fear of God back into the team. And if we know anything about Leach, it’s that he doesn’t baby problem children.

And if the next coach succeeds and leaves, so be it. That’s the kind of job Pitt is at this point. I’m more than willing to cross that bridge when he come to it.

Comment by 85 12.07.10 @ 9:08 pm

I love Dave Wannstedt. It’s been like watching your best friend fail at what he loves the most.

Comment by apm74 12.07.10 @ 9:09 pm

go for a young gun, Bradley is getting old I think.

Comment by Henry Hynoceros 12.07.10 @ 9:12 pm

I don’t want Leach. Players won’t play for him cuz of his damaged reputation

Comment by Tony Cancilla 12.07.10 @ 9:22 pm

I want Gus Malzahn or Trooper Taylor

Comment by Tony Cancilla 12.07.10 @ 9:24 pm

Randy Shannon DC haha

Comment by Tony Cancilla 12.07.10 @ 9:24 pm

Great post chas. And to Pitt fan in Atlanta. Couldn’t have said it any better.

Comment by Joey T 12.07.10 @ 9:37 pm

How about Chuck Ferentz – he’s from Western PA and has had winning teams.

Comment by Joe 12.07.10 @ 9:46 pm

Pitt Fan in Atlanta, et al,

Are you people freaking retarded? Walt Harris took over a team that was in total shambles in a reasonably hard conference and went to a BCS bowl game with it.

Wanny sucked so hard it’s almost impossible to express. And everyone just gave him a free ride because he was from Pittsburgh.

The Big East since Wanny arrived:

WVU: 59-16
Cincy: 49-26
Rutgers: 47-28
USF: 47-28
Ville: 42-31
Pitt: 41-31
UConn: 41-32
Cuse: 21-50


WVU: 5 (4-1)
Rutgers 5 (4-1)
USF: 5 (3-2)
Cincy 4 (2-2)
UConn 3 (2-1)
L’ville 2 (1-1) Gator and Orange
Pitt 2 (1-1) Muffler and Sun
Cuse 0

Big East Champs: WVU=2; Cincy=2; Ville=1

We are 6th best in a shitty conference! I FEEL PRIDE!!!!! The only people who were inspired by Wannstedt are mustache fetishists, total losers, and people who can’t separate perception from reality.

Comment by J-Maile 12.07.10 @ 9:52 pm

Bobby Bowden is available. If he balks, Joe Paterno might be open to a post Penn State job. Effing Tyler Palko might be interested too. It wouldn’t hurt to contact Bobby Knight either.

Comment by Coach Go-Round 12.07.10 @ 9:58 pm

Thankfully Pederson is not dumb enough to hire Tom Bradley.

Comment by Mike 12.07.10 @ 9:59 pm

I have this terrible fear that a new guy will come in, suck, and in 4 years we’ll all be on here talking about how much better the Wannstedt Era was, ala the Walt Harris Era.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my Dad 12.07.10 @ 10:00 pm

I like Cignetti …maybe he is the next Jamie Dixon…or Foge Fazio…he was brought in to succeed Wannstedt.

Comment by Dan 72 12.07.10 @ 10:02 pm

If Wannstedt deserved to be fired, Cignetti does not deserve to be hired. For all the seeming inevitability of Bennett’s firing, the offense was really worse than the defense this year. They need to look outside the program.

Comment by maguro 12.07.10 @ 10:08 pm

j-maile- well said. wannstedt talked big and failed miserably. good riddance.

Comment by Omar 12.07.10 @ 10:13 pm

And we all said the same things about Harris back then as well… He should be winning more. He can’t win the big one. He rose Pitt from the ashes, yes. But he was good ol’ 6&5 or 7&4 Walt. He finally backed into the BCS during the BE’s worst year (until this year) when everybody wonder if it would keep a BCS bid. Luckily, Miami stunk that year and we won a 3 way tiebreaker. We would have lost a 2 way tiebreaker. And then we got blown out by Utah in game very similar to the loss to Miami this year.

Walt accomplished some good things and but let Pitt get trached at the same time. Dave accomlished slightly less (on the field) but loved Pitt. Take your pick. But for me, I say Thanks, Walt. Thanks, Dave. Time to move on. I’ll root for the next guy whether I think he’s going to be a HOF’er or a complete moron.

So can we cut the the Walt vs. Wanny comparisons?

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 12.07.10 @ 10:14 pm

Walt did a lot of dumbo moves too, and I will never talk about the “good old days” with Dave. They’ve been excrutiating!!!

Comment by DAN 12.07.10 @ 10:14 pm

I would be happy with Russ Grimm. He would not panic and instill some much needed heart and toughness into the players. All the players care about right now is themselves and the NFL

Comment by Tony Cancilla 12.07.10 @ 10:16 pm

Agree with you about Russ Grimm. But I think we will look to college this time. Pederson hopefully has learned from watching Callahan, Weiss and Dave that NFL doesn’t really translate to college as well as people think. 3 days ago I told my wife I thought Marving Lewis would be a good choice after the Bengals refuse to resign him. BUT, his problems there are the same that Pitt had this year… Too much talent, not enought discipline or smarts and no one to hold them accountable. I say go with a younger assistant (OC or DC) or a younger head coach who wants to move up…

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 12.07.10 @ 10:24 pm

Sad day – Wanny was a Pitt guy but just couldn’t turn the corner. He really did some good things – cared about the kids and recruited well. I really think things could have been a lot different this year if we had a different QB.

Comment by dish 12.07.10 @ 10:35 pm

Russ Grimm as HC, get Randy Shannon as the DC, keep Cignetti as the OC. Just go all out and put together a monster staff to get this rolling. I wouldn’t mind going the younger route but I think Russ and Dave are complete opposites in terms of coaching style

Comment by Tony Cancilla 12.07.10 @ 10:40 pm

Please no Russ Grimm. Nothing personal, but there are reasons the guy has been passed over for NFL head coaching positions.

Kevin Sumlin would be my preference. Two years experience at Houston. With TCU coming in he has name recognition in Texas which may open a door or two for some recruiting. If not him, I’d go with Dokish’s choice, Dana Holgorsen, aka Mike leech lite.

Comment by JB '90 12.07.10 @ 10:43 pm

Tony & JB, it is so nice to see someone on here disagree and not resort to name-calling and insulting. refreshing. I am not sold on bringing a run-n-shoot or spreasd or whatever they call it to Pitt. First, I’m not sure that works with our current talent (unless Mark Myers is a gem), 2nd I’m not willing to wait 3 or 4 years ala Rich Rod to bring in his kind of guys. I think the talent is there now to win the BE next year. More agressive on D and more variation & identity on offense. I just don’t see Pitt or Tino winging it 50 times a game.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 12.07.10 @ 10:55 pm

will you all just look up this name dana holgorsen heis a offensive genius he is at oklahoma state urban meyer is trying to get him for florida when he was at houston they did over 400 yards a game for every game he is why leachs offensive was so good at that texas school.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.07.10 @ 10:56 pm

All I want is Dana Holgorsen

Comment by scoocher 12.07.10 @ 11:09 pm

At the Route 8 Giant Eagle, as he was putting the bananas out, I heard Walt Harris tell his co-worker that he was having lunch tomorrow with his pal Steve Pederson. NOT reading anything into it, just reporting what I heard.

Comment by WH 12.07.10 @ 11:20 pm

BGP – The only problem with either Sumlin or Holgorsen is that they probably will change the offense such that it will take a few years to get to where we all want them to be … so yes there may be a step back.

I will be very interested to see what happens in the BBVA Bowl game though. I have long thought that Wanny has limited Cignetti’s play calling – given his penchant for a Cavenaugh style offense. Who knows, we may see a Jeff Tedford style O on January 8th.

Comment by JB '90 12.07.10 @ 11:35 pm

Woodland Hills coach George Novak, whose player Lafayette Pitts made a verbal commitment to Pitt, said he hopes WPIAL coaches band together and send e-mails to the Pitt athletic department in support of Wannstedt.

“I am shocked and very disappointed in the University of Pittsburgh,” Novak said. “It’s tough when you show some success, and it is not enough.”

Excuse me? ‘Shocked’? ‘Success’? ‘Disappointed’?

So if that’s disappointment, what do you call being led into believing we are a BCS quality team only to lose big games time and time again? What about not being able to walk down the sidewalk on Main St. without stumbling into dozens of Big 10 bars (well outside the midwest) yet I have to fight to get a tv turned on to the Pitt game for a 9am start because we suck too bad to get better kickoff times? Is that also disappointment?

I love Wanny’s tenacity and I would have wished NOTHING more than him to have been ‘the guy. My heart goes out to him. I truly feel like he wanted to accomplish SO much more at Pitt, but comments like the one from Novak are a slap in the face. Band together? Give me a break. This is a classic case of acting outraged just because it sounds like the right thing to do. Instead, all it does is diminish the good that Wanny HAS done and focuses attention to absurd acknowledgments like ‘success’.

Comment by Cool Hand Nuke 12.07.10 @ 11:40 pm

Dana Holgorsen would be a fine hire. A smart coach, which is what Dana is, would look at what players he has and try to build a system that works with that type of personal and then slowly implement their system as players are brought in that fit….

Just like Wanny did when he got here……no wait Wanny jammed his system in the first season he was here and tried to hammer that square peg in a round hole it didn’t work and we sucked that year…but the issue then was we DIDN’T have the talent (Vampire Walt sucked out the talent I think it was BARE CABINET)…we just had to wait till Wanny got HIS kids in here and THEN by golly……

never mind (I don’t want to upset anyone) Wanny was just great I’ll really miss him….cough

Comment by Tony In Harrisburg 12.07.10 @ 11:54 pm

Why do I kick a man when he’s down? Much like a Zombie I’m worried he may get back up as he is still in Pittsburgh.

Comment by Tony In Harrisburg 12.08.10 @ 12:00 am

Mark Mangino- Born and raised in New Castle and Bill Snyder tree. Was big part of 3 “from the dead” turnarounds (K-State, Oklahoma & Kansas). Great offensive mind who took Kansas to an Orange Bowl win. Yeah. That’s right. KANSAS! The “player abuse” allegations were much ado about nothing. The team was having a bad year and the KU snobs and AD (who didn’t hire him and is being investigated by NCAA and FBI for numerous indiscretions) always want him gone.

Also wouldn’t mind Jim Leavitt.

Comment by Panther-Wildcat Mix 12.08.10 @ 12:54 am

Also how about Franchione?

Comment by Panther-Wildcat Mix 12.08.10 @ 12:55 am

Comment by Panther-Wildcat Mix 12.08.10 @ 1:04 am

I’m not going to lie, people need to really be careful with all the NFL talk. It has been shown time and time again that NFL coaches who try to bring their expertise and knowledge to the college game fail. They simply just don’t get it. Trying to play mistake-free football and win games based on field position just doesn’t work in college. Just take a look at the two teams playing for the national title right now. They were both considered also-rans in their conferences FOREVER. They hired young, creative coaches who were willing to take a chance and change the game. The two most wide open and prolific offenses (sans Hawaii and Nevada) and two of the top defenses are now playing for a title. Wake up, smell the coffee, make the change. Playing NFL football never has, and never will, work in college.

Comment by Alex 12.08.10 @ 1:47 am

Also, I’ll take Rich Rod. Seriously.

Comment by Alex 12.08.10 @ 2:03 am

I wish AD Pederson good luck in finding a young coach like Jamie Dixon. My guess is that Tim Lewis and Sal Sunseri are the likely candidates from outside and Frank Cignetti from the current staff.

Comment by Terry 12.08.10 @ 3:28 am

For those of you out there who think those of us that wanted Dave W replaced as haters let me tell you something.

Today’s conference broke my heart. That’s right it tore me up. To see a Pitt guy through and through with tears in his eyes who is being forced out is not what I or I would dare say most of us wanted.

Think what could’ve been…

In 2008 — If you beat Bowling Green on your home field and Oregon State WITHOUT the Rogers brothers, you have an 11-win season complete with a nice bowl win and people are feeling really good about your program

2009 — A chance to be 12-0 but you blow a game to NC State, come up flat against WVU, blow a 21 point lead to Cincy.

2010 — a weak Big East and you had a definitive shot at winning it all being up two games and you go onto to blow that lead.

Imagine best case scenario…11 wins, 12 wins and BCS, 8 win season (minimum with a UConn win) and a second BCS birth.

I think he does any one of those three things and coach Dave W is still here. But if he does all three Pitt is set and so is Dave W’s legacy.

No I would say there isn’t a single one of us who didn’t want the above. I wish it would’ve happened, because I hated what I saw yesterday.

So if you think I am hater, think again. It’s a sad day but hope springs eternal.


Comment by DaveD 12.08.10 @ 3:28 am

I think it would be LOL great if we got Rich Rod and he won us a national championship. I wonder how many Hoopies would commit sepuku?

Comment by BnG 12.08.10 @ 3:31 am

If what some media reports are true regarding the final straw (one of them anyway) that broke the camel’s back, being the off season arrests and DW’s handling of them, is true… I’m not sure PITT will want to promote anyone currently on staff.

I’m not saying there aren’t viable candidates there – Gattuso I like and fans seem to think Cignetti would be a good one – but the administration may want to go in a totally different direction.

In all this discussion about DW, and I – like Chas – didn’t think this would happen this year – I’ve maintained two things… 1) That DW wouldn’t leave $5.6M dollars on the table and 2) that embarrassment to the program would be a contributing factor in a change at HC.

Apparently those were true. There are a lot of similarities between now and 2004 with one big difference – that new rock solid four year contract that DW signed…Harris wasn’t extended on contract so PITT could easily cut ties completely with him.

But those four arrests, and the way DW handled the Sheard situation had to have some impact here. The PITT administration is loathe to upset the local community – and the South Side was up in arms about Sheard’s situation – and is equally dedicated to keeping PITT’s name out of the national gossip column.

The crux of this issue are the results on the football field to be sure, but PITT could easily have kept DW for a few more years at the current winning pace, because he was winning more than he lost – the tipping point may have been something different.

I respect the hell out of DW as a man, I think he’s made some egregious errors in decision making but none out of malice, but this is good news for PITT and shows that they have their eyes on a bigger picture than any one thing.

Comment by Reed 12.08.10 @ 3:46 am

DaveD, the morning after is a sad one as well. I would love to visit Wanny with my dog to get a smile out of him.

But bottom line, by not correctly utilizing the best players on the squad Wanny did not give the team the best chance to win.

And if I’m a player that would pretty much be a downer.

Comment by steve 12.08.10 @ 6:36 am

Go back to the script logo and I don’t care if they offered the job to Joe Del Sardo!!!

Comment by FlipToScript 12.08.10 @ 7:32 am

I posted this on another blog:

This was a business decision based on the prospects of future economic success of the football program. Viewed through that prism, it was not a decision at all; it was a foregone conclusion. I, for one, am energized by the change and will renew my season tickets which is exactly why Pitt made the move. I had to fire my secretary once because she couldn’t transition from a typewriter to a word processor. Nicest lady in the world and her fellow employees wanted to tar and feather me. These decisions are never easy to make and the people who do not understand them are reporting to the person who makes them for a reason. Frankly, I couldn’t understand what was taking Pitt so long. Anyway I wish Wannstedt well but he had to go.

Regarding the next coach, the best advice I could offer Pederson is to appoint a search committee which includes one voting member: Jamie Dixon.

Comment by wally 12.08.10 @ 7:35 am

You people are a complete bunch of phonies. In weeks past, I read the most vile, hateful comments about Wanny on this board. Now all of a sudden you feel sympathy? What a complete bunch of hypocrites.

I also love your new coach fantasies. Tom Bradley? Come on. Kirk (who someone called Chuck) Ferentz? Why in the world would these guys want to come to Pitt? You people just don’t get it; the Big East is a step below the MAC. Pitt will never contend for a NC in that conference. If the rumblings about Pitt and the Big Ten were true, they should fire the guy that nixed that one.

Comment by Tom 12.08.10 @ 7:42 am

Zeise does a great blog about potention PITT candidate.

My favorite would be TERYL AUSTIN for sure. We wouldn’t miss a beat with the recruiting and he would add Florida and the southeastern recruiting to our ranks given his current position as Defensive Coordinator at Florida. Great people skills. Has been around winning football at the highest levels (NFL, Michigan). And YES he is a PITT guy which means something (despite the contrary by some) when you are looking for a person who understands the culture and would pure his heart out for the university.

link to

quoting Zeise
“Teryl Austin – Florida defensive coordinator – Of all the “Pitt” guys out there, this one is the only guy who would really, I think, have a legitimate shot to get an interview. Austin played at Pitt from 1984-87 and at 45 he, like Stoops, is ready to take the next step. He is best known for his work as a recuiter when he was at Michigan from 1999-2002 and he was cleaning up recruiting in Western Pennsylvania. He is still known as a top recruiter and in the six years since Pitt last had an opening (and Austin was considered too young and not experienced enough for the job) he has added two Super Bowls as an assistant coach (once with Arizona and once with Seattle, though his team lost to the Steelers both times) and he has added his current position – a coordinator in one of the top programs in the country – to his resume. Austin is a family man and he is a minority to boot. It also can’t hurt that he has spent a year working with Urban Meyer and studying that offense every day at practice. He is the kind of hire Pederson talked about making – excellent character, record of success, a history of being a part of successful programs and he is an excellent recruiter.”

Others on the list that would be interesting would be:

Chris Petersen (Boise) – Has to be 1 or 2 on the list of dream candidates. Would required a serious financial commitment which might be a push given the current Wannstedt financial settlement.

Greg Gattuso (Pitt) – D line has been solid. He knows the team and recruiting. If he isnt hired as head coach then Teryl Austin or Chris Peterson should hire him immediately as D-Coordinator and sure up the current recruits.

Mark Stoops (FSU) – if you go after him then you certainly would have to give Teryl Austin first look since Austin is more qualified and has several other intangibles.

Dana Holgorsen (OK St) – The Pitt Offense under achieved this year and next season without Baldwin (can’t believe he is ready for the NFL but hey) gone it will be a little more important to get a good offensive guy on board. He has to be 4th best choice at best.

Al Golden (Temple head Coach)- three word doom him. Temple, Penn State (dream job). It’s temple for goodness sakes.

So what I see is that we really only have three real candidates and they are Great Options

1) Teryl Austin (U of Florida D- Coordinator)
2) Chris Peterson (Boise Head Coach)
3) Greg Gattuso(Pitt D-line)

Comment by PITT fan in Atlanta 12.08.10 @ 8:23 am

im super pumped that he was fir- i mean resigned

do i enjoy a man’s failure? sometimes (rich rod) but not in this case… his failures weighed on all rational pitt fans, his failures as a coach (when the ship crashes its the captain’s fault, Big Guy) cost this university money and prestige, and his inability to act like a man and ever take any responsibility or use correct grammar during press conferences straight up pissed me off

thankfully he didnt make a scene or play hard ball, so i am grateful for that

but lets not forget that this man has been holding us back for 6 years now as the 6th place record in the Big Least showed… time for a new era and good riddance

Comment by DeVanzo 12.08.10 @ 8:31 am

I was excited just reading Zeise’s list of potential candidates. Some great young guys on there that may be able to come in and shake things up. Chris Petersen from Boise State??? As Zeise said, its a pipe dream but you have to at least make the phone call.

Comment by Coach Ditka 12.08.10 @ 8:36 am

This needed to be done. The program has some talent. This hire is extremely important. They need to get it right.

Comment by Pittastic 12.08.10 @ 9:08 am

What are the chances that Chris Petersen would come in here?

Comment by Pedro Salgado 12.08.10 @ 9:15 am

Sunseri should start studying the defensive playbook so he can play in the secondary.

Comment by Pittastic 12.08.10 @ 9:18 am

Grimm has no chance. Didn’t graduate while at Pitt.

Comment by Why me 12.08.10 @ 9:24 am

Teryl Austin certainly checks a lot of the boxes of experience and intagibles the administration should be seeking. I will be extremely dissapointed if he is not given significant consideration.

And, though it makes my skin crawl, I’m warming to the thought of Tom Bradley.

Comment by ECH 12.08.10 @ 9:32 am

Zeise’s list may be the stupidest thing I ever saw. Austin wanted to be defensive coordinator when Wannstedt hired Bennett but Pitt didn’t want him. Now they would want him to be the head coach? Greg Gattuso as head coach? You can’t be serious. And Chris Pederson? Why in God’s green earth would he leave a perennial national championship contender where he makes a ton of money for anything but a perennial national championship contender where he will make a ton of money? Ludicrous.

Comment by Mark 12.08.10 @ 9:42 am

i do not like the fire right now…i would have waited 1 more yr, it is a young team and see how they respond, if he was 7-5 next yr, then i can see the firing, but not now…this will put pitt back another 2-3 yrs…fire peterson..

Comment by mike 12.08.10 @ 10:00 am

I agree with Mike

Comment by shadyforpresident 12.08.10 @ 10:18 am

mike leach should be considered even if miami is talking to him. but how about leach’s OC at the time Dana Holgorsen. that’d be a hell of a signing and bring people into the stands to see exciting offensive football. something pitt has lacked under wanny

Comment by dave 12.08.10 @ 10:19 am

zeise loves throwing out this stat:

The Panthers are also 26-12 in the past three seasons, and those 26 victories represent the most in a three-year stretch by a Pitt team since the 1981, ’82 and ’83 teams.

well, guess what? wanny was just 3-9 vs. teams in the top 25. end of story.

Comment by scott 12.08.10 @ 10:43 am

Let’s define what is acceptable for the new coach when we review his performance this time next year. First, anything less than making it to a BCS bowl would have to be unacceptable. DW made it to three straight bowl games, but it was unacceptable that DW did not make it to a BCS bowl.

Won/loss record? If the new coach comes in at 7-5, that is totally unacceptable. A 7-5 record gets a coach fired. My guess is that an 8-4 record falls in the same category. Some posters were not happy with an9-3 record. So what record do we applaud next year and what record do we not renew our season ticket subscription? Let’s not make any excuses like, “Well, we have to give the new coach a chance”. That ain’t gonna work. The criterion is “What record would we have anticipated from DW, and what record did the new coach produce?” Giving the new coach slack time has connotations that the issue was DW and not DW’s performance.

Comment by BigGuy 12.08.10 @ 10:46 am

Dana Holgorsen

Sign the guy

“Dana Holgorsen’s name comes up quickly in any discussion about Oklahoma State’s 2010 season. The offensive coordinator came to Stillwater via Houston, where he ran the most productive offense in college football in 2009.”

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 12.08.10 @ 10:49 am


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

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