Wannstedt Forced Out

7 Dec
Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt, pictured in a Nov. 26 loss to West Virginia, resigned under pressure Tuesday after going 42-31 at Pitt.

Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt is being forced out of the job he always wanted, and the one he never truly wanted to leave.

Wannstedt resigned under pressure Tuesday, three days after Pittsburgh finished a disappointing 7-5 season by beating Cincinnati 28-10. The former NFL Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins coach will remain as a special assistant to Panthers athletic director Steve Pederson.

Pitt apparently chose to change coaches this week, rather than after playing Kentucky in the Jan. 8 Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., because most top candidates might not be available by then, and national signing day would be less than a month away.

Wannstedt, 58, gave no signs Sunday after Pitt accepted the minor bowl bid he was weighing retirement, and he said he was looking forward to recruiting.

At a news conference Tuesday, it was quickly evident Wannstedt didn’t voluntarily choose to leave. A number of Pitt players, not invited to the session, gathered around him to show support.

“You know what? I had a few things to say but this says it,” said an emotional Wannstedt, 42-31 in six seasons. “I appreciate the opportunity that (chancellor) Mark Nordenberg and this university gave me to come here, win games and most importantly to try to make a difference in these young men’s lives. Thank you.”

Wannstedt, who has drawn sharp criticism for his in-game coaching, will be allowed to coach the bowl game if he wants. Offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. likely will coach the team if Wannstedt doesn’t.

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