Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dave Wannstedt Resigns at Pitt

"To be the head coach at my university was the realization of a lifelong dream," said Wannstedt. The school said Wannstedt would remain at Pitt as a special assistant to athletic director Steve Pederson.

Wannstedt has long ties to the school and its football program, though his tenure as head coach has been bumpy.

Pitt went 42-31 under Wannstedt, who was hired prior to the 2005 season, and was just 2-4 versus rival West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl.

The Panthers tied West Virginia and Connecticut atop the Big East standings this season at 5-2, but UConn earned the conference's BCS bowl berth based on tie-breakers.

After winning a Super Bowl title in 1992, he was named head coach of the Chicago Bears, where he coached from 1993-1998.

He was also head coach of the Miami Dolphins for four-plus seasons before taking the Pitt job. Wannstedt had a mark of 82-87 as an NFL head coach.

PITTSBURGH -- Dave Wannstedt is out as Pitt football coach following a disappointing season in which the Panthers were big favorites to win a weak Big East Conference, only to finish 7-5 and qualify for a minor bowl.

Wannstedt resigned under pressure Tuesday, three days after Pitt (7-5) salvaged its regular season by beating Cincinnati 28-10. Wannstedt's tenure was marked by upset losses to teams such as Ohio University and Bowling Green and a failure to play in a BCS bowl - something the Panthers did under lame-duck coach Walt Harris before Wannstedt took over in 2005. Wannstedt went 42-31 in six seasons, including a 26-12 mark from 200-8-10 that is Pitt's best for a three-season stretch since 1981-83.

Pitt won only one bowl game under Wannstedt, beating North Carolina 19-17 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl last season.

Pitt was 4-2 at home this season, with blowout losses to West Virginia and Miami (31-3).

Callahan and Pederson were fired weeks apart in 2007, with Pederson returning to Pitt shortly after that. Wannstedt was hired in late 2004 by former Pitt AD Jeff Long, who is now at Arkansas.

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