A strange situation at the University of Pittsburgh got even stranger on Monday when Coach Dave Wannstedt, who was fired soon after the Panthers’ regular-season finale, announced he won’t coach the team in Saturday’s BBVA Compass Bowl against Kentucky. Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett will lead the team in the bowl.
While Wannstedt was fired, he was given the option to coach the bowl and said he would do so. Yet he did not tell university administrators until Monday of his decision not to. But Wannstedt has been coaching the team during bowl practices. This comes on the heels of Wannstedt’s replacement, Mike Haywood, getting fired before he even coached a game due to an arrest for a domestic violence charge.
“My loyalty to these players is to have them enjoy this experience and allow them to be the main focus of attention when the travel top Birmingham to get ready for this game,” Wannstedt said. “It would be unfair for any part of their experience to be about the head coach and his particular situation.”
Wannstedt, who played at Pitt in the early 1970s and was an assistant on the Panthers’ 1976 national champion team, was 42-31 in six seasons, including a 7-5 record and a share of the Big East title in 2010.
Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said in a statement that although Wannstedt “made indications” that it wasn’t likely he would coach in the bowl game, “we did not know, however, whether his position would change once he began working with the team again and gave him the liberty to have the time to make a final decision.”
Bennett joined Wannstedt’s staff as defensive coordinator three years ago, after serving as head coach at Southern Methodist University.
Pitt is a 3.5-point favorite on Bodog’s NCAA football odds against Kentucky.
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About Morris Mohawk Gaming Group
Morris Mohawk Gaming Group (MMGG) is the exclusive licensee of the “Bodog” brand for online gaming services in the United States and is led by Alwyn Morris, Olympic gold medalist, Order of Canada recipient, noted Canadian sportsman, First Nations leader and former Associate Director for the Mohawk Council of Chiefs in Kahnawake. MMGG is located in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake – part of the seven communities that make up the Mohawk Nation – just outside Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and is licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission to offer gaming services from Kahnawake to users worldwide. For more information, visit www.morrismohawk.com.
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