The Pitt Panthers are being regarded as a national laughingstock and are a public relations mess at this moment.
Just days after firing head coach Mike Haywood who was on the job for 16 days, neither chancellor Mark Nordenberg or athletic director Steve Pederson have answered the bell and spoken to the media about the situation.
Instead they are hiding behind statements via press releases.
The opportunity is there for Nordenberg and Pederson to explain the situation, say all the right things that their previous search didn’t reveal any of those characteristics about Haywood and that they are going to go about this coaching search the right way.
They’ve waited too long and need to go up in front of the media and answer the hard questions that everyone wants answers to. They should have done it today but it doesn’t appear they will.
A lack of leadership has been evident in Pitt and the way everything has been handled from a PR standpoint is right up there with the things the Pirates have done in recent years.
The disgust from Pitt alums has been astronomical.
In a sense, the spokesman for Pitt has been ex-coach Dave Wannstedt who officially resigned but he was forced out and fired.
Wannstedt today held a press conference weeks after he was fired in something that isn’t seen too often in college sports. Those inside the industry are shaking their heads that the university let Wannstedt have an open podium today and even let him have the option of coaching the bowl game.
Wannstedt first announced that he won’t be coaching in the upcoming bowl game and emotions were running high for Wannstedt. Many believe his comments were a shot towards Steve Pederson.
“Today as it has been for the past six years, my responsibility and loyalty has been to this staff, to these coaches and, most importantly, to the Pitt football players,” Wannstedt said.
“In a few days, these players will take on the responsibility of playing in a bowl game and I am proud on how they have handled everything leading up to this point. Having been here as a player and as a coach who has played in bowl games, I understand that this is the next great experience in a young college football player’s career and it’s important that they take advantage of the great opportunity.
“Ultimately, the focus and attention for the next few days should be on the players who are here. The focus and attention should not be on their coach, who won’t be coaching them.”
“There have been a lot of coaches before me and there will be a lot of coaches after me,” Wannstedt said in his statement, “but I can assure you none of them loved this university more than Dave Wannstedt.”
“My loyalty to these players is to have them enjoy this experience and allow them to be the main focus of attention when they travel to 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 or his particular situation. It would not be right.
“For those reasons and for these players, I’m going to ask them and I’ve talked to them already about representing the University of Pittsburgh without me at the bowl game.”
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