Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wannstedt's Memory Clear on Upset at Wvu

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wannstedt's Memory Clear on Upset at Wvu

Article excerpt

All these years later, Dave Wannstedt never gets tired of talking about it. Though his tenure as football coach at his alma mater didn't end the way he wanted, Wannstedt will never get sick of hearing about the near-exact midpoint of that six-year era, the night and the game that he earned his first victory against West Virginia as a head coach.

Had he not made the call to take a safe-as-can-be safety with no time left on the clock, the annals of Pitt football wouldn't have such an unforgettable score: 13-9. That's one that looking back on will never get old, and certainly not on the 10th anniversary of one of the biggest upsets in college football history.

"No, not at all. It's part of Pittsburgh," Wannstedt said by phone Tuesday afternoon while wrapping up some analyst duties in Chicago. "I'm Pittsburgh. I'm Pitt. I mean, it's part of who I am and who we are."

The man who commanded the sideline that day for the Panthers against the second-ranked Mountaineers in Morgantown will never be forgotten for leading his team to an incredible win that kept their most-hated rival from playing for a national championship.

As that game ages for Wannstedt - who not only had to use crutches because of a torn Achilles tendon, but also received a contract extension earlier that day - he immediately points to three facets of that finale to an otherwise mediocre 5-7 season that he won't soon forget:

* It was the culmination of all Wannstedt put his team through from the time he took over for Walt Harris in 2005. That included an offseason program of running players to the top of the Cathedral of Learning the first year, and the next winter, taking them to the neighborhood to the south where they ran steps in the snow and across the Greenfield Bridge in the frigid cold.

"This was a group of guys willing to do whatever, and they believed the plan we had was gonna work," Wannstedt said. "So, what comes to mind is just the joy on their faces when the clock struck zero. …

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