After six seasons with the University of Pittsburg Panthers, Dave Wannstedt has resigned. Big game failures following a disappointing season in which the Panthers were big favorites to win a weak Big East Conference, only to finish 7-5 and qualify for a minor bowl lead to Wannstedt’s loss of confidence from the administration. The Panthers didn’t have a winning record during Wannstedt’s first three seasons. Earlier that week he had declined to speculate about his future at the school, saying he was focused on Saturday’s regular season-ending game at Cincinnati and not on the Panthers’ disappointing season.
The former Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins coach will remain in the school at some other capacity for the remainder of his career. Wannstedt was under pressure to step down by athletic director Steve Pederson. Wannstedt came to the team at a turmoiled time with upset losses to teams such as Ohio University and Bowling Green and a failure to play in a BCS bowl hanging over their heads. Although he did a lot of good for the team, including raising expectations and massive recruiting success, it was clear that fans had already begun to lose faith. Since The Panthers already have trouble filling stadiums they thought it best not to risk bringing back Wannstedt in the coaching department.
Wannstedt was a long-time assistant to Jimmy Johnson with the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Hurricanes, and Oklahoma State Cowboys as well as an associate of Johnson when both were assistants at the University of Pittsburgh in the 1970s.