Wannstedt out as Pitt coach

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Pitt football coach Dave Wannstedt resigned under pressure today, it was announced at an emotional press conference at the team's UPMC Southside facility.

According to multiple sources, it was not Wannstedt's decision to resign and he was forced out by the university administration.

An emotional Wannstedt, who will remain as the special assistant to athletic director Steve Pederson, addressed the media and had a written statement. But when all of his players walked up to the podium to join him he simply said, "I appreciate the opportunity the university and [Chancellor] Mark Nordenberg gave me to come here and win games and try to make a difference in these young men's lives."

He then took his players to the locker room for a meeting before leaving the facility.

Pederson then spoke and said that he and Wannstedt came to a decision that now was the right time to make a change.

Pederson was asked a number of questions as to why Wannstedt wanted to step down and was evasive in his answers. He did not answer a question on whether Wannstedt had an option to return next year.

"I want to say, on behalf of everyone at the University of Pittsburgh, thank you to Dave Wannstedt for everything he has done," Pederson said. "He is the consumate Pitt man and the consumate gentleman. We will immediately begin the search for a new head football coach and it will be a national search.

"I think as you talk about the season, this was a tough year all around and that wears on everybody and I think, as we talked about it, it just became the right time to think about all of this."

Pederson said Wannstedt will have the option to coach the Panthers in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 8 but no decision has been made yet.

Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com .


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