Whichever side you come out on the great Dave Wannstedt debate, one thing's for sure - he's always seemed to relate well to high school players. That was extremely evident at Pitt when he was able to recruit even with some unsuccessful teams at the start of his career.
Now, back in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills, Wannstedt is making the most of his time with the league in a lockout, reaching out to high school kids again.
He recently spoke to about 250 high school players as part of the NFL's High School Player Development program to help players with on-field and off-field development.
Wannstedt's advice? Hang around good people:
"There’s somebody in your life right now that’s a positive influence. Think about it, think about it right now, maybe there’s more than one," said Wannstedt. "Don’t lose sight of it, stay close to those people. They know what’s best for you, even though you may not want to hear it. Stay close to them."
Pretty simple, right? You'd think so, but with all of the problems at Ohio State and other places to be sure, it's clear not everyone is taking that advice.
Wannstedt also said his parents weren't always around and divulged the reason he got into coaching:
"Someone in your life has done something positive to influence you," said Wannstedt. "I don’t know if it’s a grandmother, mom, cousin, a coach. I got into coaching, you know why? My dad was never around, he worked the night shift at the mill. My mother was dealing with the other five kids, and my coaches made me."
Wannstedt's coaches were his positive influence.
He continued, "Every time I said I was done with school, you’ve got to do this, you have to take your prep courses, they (coaches) stayed on my butt. They influenced me to stay after it. Eventually, I got a scholarship to Pitt so I made up my mind, I’m going to be a coach. Probably about half these coaches here got into coaching because of the same reason."
Wannstedt could be described as a lot of things both good and not so much. But one thing that can't be debated is that he just appears to be a good guy. Unfortunately, that didn't always translate to on-field wins.