PITTSBURGH — Dave Wannstedt announced Monday he will not coach Pitt in the BBVA Compass Bowl Jan. 8 against Kentucky in Birmingham. Phil Bennett will be the interim coach for the game.

It was the first appearance Wannstedt made since his resignation on Dec. 7. In the press conference, he made two things very clear: he will always be a “Pitt guy,” and no one has ever, or will ever, love the University of Pittsburgh more than he.

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He went on to say that he doesn’t want to be a distraction to the players because the bowl game is supposed to be a reward for their hard work throughout the season.

Wannstedt refused to talk about Pitt’s current situation, looking for a coach again after Mike Haywood’s stay lasted just 17 days up until his arrest over the weekend. He did say, though, that this wasn’t the way he envisioned “passing the torch” to a new staff and that the players have been “champions” with all that has happened.

Here’s his entire press conference…

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Dave Wannstedt:

The university also released this statement from Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson…

“During a series of discussions leading up to today, Dave made indications it wasn’t likely that he would coach 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. In anticipation of this decision, we talked with Phil Bennett about leading the program as the acting head coach for this bowl game. Phil Bennett has been a head coach, is respected by the players and staff, and will do a fine job leading the Pitt football team in Birmingham. We are fortunate to have someone with Phil’s talents available to assume this role.”

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Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog