Former Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt hastily announced his resignation on Tuesday after a disappointing 7-5 season. Rather than wait, Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson moved quickly, hoping to get a head-start on potential candidates as bowl season arrive. It meant a quick press conference and a job for Wannstedt in the administrative side of the athletic department.
At the press conference, surrounded by players and coaches that showed up to show their support for the departing coach, Wannstedt thanked the university for the opportunity to coach at his alma mater.
"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 will, however, get the chance to coach one more game for the Panthers. Should he choose, Wannstedt will be allowed to coach Pitt in the BBVA Compass Bowl against the Kentucky Wildcats on Jan. 8. Offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. was named the interim head coach and will take over the program in the meantime.
Pitt, meanwhile, will immediate begin a national search for a coaching replacement. It's an attractive job, with plenty of talent either in the program or in Wannstedt's final recruiting class, should the next coach retain all 19 verbal commitments. The Panthers also share facilities with the Pittsburgh Steelers and boast a storied tradition, making the job an attractive one among potential candidates.