If you've followed this blog at all over the past few years, it should be clear to you that Jones and I were very much in the anti-Wannstedt camp. We were tired of losing to the Ohio's and Bowling Green's of the world. We had enough of too many excuses and not enough results. Finishing in 3rd place the last 3 years was unacceptable given the weakness of the conference the past few years.
As we reported on our twitter page on the day after the brawl, the plan was in place to have major changes made. It still remains unknown whether or not Wannstedt fell on the sword for his assistants or if he truly was fired after not achieving the goals laid out for him at the beginning of the season. You may have your assumptions, but regardless of what they are the point is that Dave Wannstedt is no longer the coach of the Pittsburgh Panthers.
I wanted to wait and write this article a full week after it had happened because immediately after the news broke (I will admit) I was very excited and felt that Christmas had come three weeks early. What happened after that was something I did not expect at all.
Seeing Dave Wannstedt visibly upset at the press conference really brought out something I never thought about in the 6 years he coached here. Dave Wannstedt and I both want Pitt to win national championships each year. We both want Pitt to be respected in the best light possible. I just never thought I would feel such an emotional attachment to a man that I wanted to see removed for the past few years now.
I suppose it was a combination of seeing someone who loved the University so much fail at the quest he laid out for himself, the team, and the fans. It certainly didn't help the way it was handled by the Pitt administration. For the first time since he was hired, I felt bad for Dave Wannstedt and felt he deserved better.
He will have the freedom in his new job to come and go as he pleases just like Johnny Majors, so he can be involved as much or as little as he wants to be. I hope that even though he is still removed from his role as head coach, he does not become too involved with the new coach. The new coach needs to have his space and needs to be able to mark the squad as his team now. How much involvement he will have won't be known until some time passes, but it will remain an interesting question until then.
As we stand now though, we have a man who failed at his job and was rightfully let go. He was unaware a change was coming and as a coach you need to be very sensitive to things such as that. The fact he remained unaware of the thought of a change was the last example of a regime that was defined by excuses and an attitude that made it appear as if he had a life time contract. Since it is all said and done, I hope he is able to do well in his new position and can leave Pitt on his own terms now with his head held high.