Dave Wannstedt (DW) gave an in-depth interview to Allan Saunders of the Pittsburgh Sports Now blog on Tuesday. It was a good look at what an experienced head coach thinks and feels about the profession and about Pitt football in general.
For the newcomers to Pitt fandom Dave Wannstedt was a Pittsburgh born and bred Pitt football player who had starred at local Baldwin HS. He played in the early 1970s and was one of the offensive lineman who opened holes for Tony Dorsett to run through. He was a good ballplayer and worked hard to receive his Masters Degree from Pitt before he went onto a NFL career.
After his playing career ended he entered the staff coaching ranks, eventually grabbed onto Jimmy Johnson shirttails and rode them into head coaching jobs with the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears. After those gigs finished Pitt hired him in 2004 to replace the fired Walt Harris and the rest is history (of sorts).
He coached Pitt for six years starting in 2005. Under his command we had our best three year run in 30 years when the team’s 2009-2010 years were consistent winning seasons. His high point at Pitt was a 10 win season in 2009.
Yet conference championships eluded him and he left the university under negative circumstances (on everyone’s part) due to acrimony between him and the Pitt administration. That split was based on off the field issues and his inability to win the games that we needed to win to have championships.
He was a coach beloved by his players and fans yet just couldn’t really make it work at his alma mater.