Is Dave Wannstedt the Right Coach for
By Josh Katzowitz
The Cincinnati Post
There were such high hopes. Dave Wannstedt was going to return
the University of Pittsburgh to its glory days. The Panthers could
make reservations for the top-10. Pitt hands could prepare to
hoist the Big East championship. Wannstedt was the man to take
them to these wonderful places.
All of those assumptions, of course, are wrong - Dave Wannstedt
is not the right coach for the Panthers.
He wasn't the right coach when they hired him before the 2005
season and he promptly took a top-25 team and went 5-6. He wasn't
the right coach in 2006, when the Panthers opened the season with
six wins in seven games and then dropped the final five to finish
without a bowl berth.
Curiously (or maybe, not so curiously) his Panthers have suffered
from the same affliction Wannstedt's Miami Dolphins squad experienced
- meltdowns in key games.
For the Dolphins, it was failing to make the playoffs in his
last three seasons, when in two of those years, they had a very
real chance to earn a postseason berth. For Pitt, last season's
0-5 finish says it all.
That's a reflection on the coaching staff. That's a reflection
Already, he's had to release assistant coaches, the first step
in what could be the end of the Wannstedt era. Already, some wonder
if this season is his last chance.
Yes, Wannstedt is a fine recruiter, at least according to the
Web sites who rank recruiting classes. Wannstedt recruited the
country's eighth-best recruiting class in 2007, the best Big East
recruiting class in 2006.
The 2008 class probably will end up with ultra-positive reviews
But winning recruiting battles doesn't matter if you can't win
on the field. Wannstedt has proven thus far he can't accomplish
He played for Pitt, and the second time he was a member of the
program - as a graduate assistant under Johnny Majors - the team
won a national championship. He wants to lead the program back
to those heights.
Too bad it's not going to happen. For the wrong coach for this
program, the high hopes will continue fading into mediocrity,
and eventually, Wannstedt - and not just his assistants - will
be asked to leave it for good.