Dave Wannstedt (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
So we all know how I feel about the Wannstedt resignation, but time to move on from that. Here's some more details/insight on the move.
Pittsburgh is an excellent school located in a talent-rich area. Though the Panthers will always play second fiddle to the Steelers in their own city (and probably the Penguins, too), there are some advantages to being in a pro town. Pitt piggybacks off the Steelers' facilities and shares training space with the NFL team. Imagine the treat it must be for college players to walk by guys like Troy Polamalu on a daily basis.
I agree with Bennett's general gist, but about the pro stuff, um, not so much. Yes, it may be a benefit/perk for players to constantly bump into some of the Steelers, but other than that, Pitt is hurt by the fact it's in a pro market. It is constantly fighting for not only area dollars, but maybe just as important, has to fight to stay relevant and keep interest.
But with the facilities, tradition, area recruits, and a good recruiting class to start with, the job is indeed a good one. I don't think Pitt will have any trouble in finding a number of qualified coaches. The problem is going to be in finding the right one.
Anyway, I'm really glad Wannstedt is sticking around in some capacity. His game coaching may have been questionable, but one thing that can't be disputed is that he's a great ambassador for the program. Who knows what kind of stuff he'll be doing as a 'Special Assistant to the Athletic Director,' but the program will be better for having him around.
And of course Wannstedt took some time to briefly reflect on his career at Pitt:
"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
Pitt students, unlike most of the fans, sounded pretty split on the decision. Judging from the reaction out there, I think more people are excited about this move than not.
And while Wannstedt certainly had an awful track record in big games, one thing I always got a chuckle out of was the fact that fans said he never had a signature win. If beating the No. 1 / No. 2 team on the road when they have a chance to play for a national championship doesn't count as a signature win, I don't know what does. Pitt clearly had no big wins when the team contended and, let's face it, was awful under pressure. But I'll still maintain that was a big game and I think 20 years from now, people will still be talking about that game.
Speaking of games under the spotlight, glad Wannstedt will have the opportunity to coach one last game at the BBVA Compass bowl game. Frankly, I don't care if he does or not. I don't think it really matters either way, other than the players may play a bit harder if he's still the coach. But if he's truly been given the opportunity to coach, I'm glad for him.
And Dave was never much into Twitter, but I wonder how long it takes for this page to come down (or at least until the name is changed from Coach Wannstedt). Over/under two weeks.
So who's the next coach? Who knows. One name I'm hearing quite a bit is Tom Bradley at Penn State. I don't know - I think he'd be a good coach, but you've got to think his eye is on the Penn State job ... whenever it opens up. Other than that, it's way too early to tell.