Pitt ensures stability with Wannstedt


With the way the coaching profession works these days, contracts usually don't mean much.

At Pitt, though, things are different. Head coach Dave Wannstedt signed a two-year extension today that will keep him at the school until January 2015. And unless something really strange happens or Wannstedt decides to retire early, that's exactly where he'll be in 2015.

"Stability is such a key in this profession," Wannstedt said. "High school recruits and their parents want to know that you'll be there and they won't have to go through a change every couple of years.

"I'm really concerned about trying to make a difference in young people's lives at this university and this city, and that's truly what my motivation is every day."

It would be hard to find a better fit between school and coach, as Wannstedt grew up in the area and graduated from Pitt. The team did not make a bowl game his first three years, but the school stuck by Wannstedt, offering him his first contract extension when he was 4-7 in year three. So many other places have itchy trigger fingers, and a different administration might not have given Wannstedt a fourth year.

But he's rewarded their loyalty and patience by guiding the Panthers to 19 wins the past two years and turning Pitt into a well-oiled recruiting machine. Yes, he needs to win a Big East championship. But it's starting to look like that will happen very soon, if not this year. The way Pitt has been recruiting, the Panthers should be serious contenders for several years to come.

Wannstedt now is the third-longest tenured coach in the Big East, behind UConn's Randy Edsall and Rutgers' Greg Schiano. Both those coaches have been at their schools now for nearly a decade. Each has continually been mentioned for other jobs, but they're still at the same school.

The Big East often seems like a stepping stone league for coaches, especially after Bobby Petrino, Rich Rodriguez and Brian Kelly all left for high-profile opportunities. But three schools are showing that it's possible to have long term coaching stability in the Big East.