PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Some sweeping changes took place within the University of Pittsburgh’s athletic department on Wednesday.

Head football coach Paul Chryst left the school and officially took over coaching duties at the University of Wisconsin – his alma mater.

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While that announcement was being made, the University of Pittsburgh relieved Steve Pederson of his duties as athletic director.

There are many who support Chryst’s decision to take the head coaching job in Wisconsin, and there are some who say Pederson’s firing is a change that is needed.

“I think the opportunity for him [Chryst] was fantastic and anybody in his role,” Pitt fan Tom DiPasquale said.

The Wisconsin native led the Panthers to a 19-19 overall record in three seasons at Pitt.

He was Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator before accepting the Pitt head coaching job in 2012.

As for Pederson, some aren’t sad to see him go.

“Peterson’s record on hiring football coaches is probably the worst in the country, so actually anybody could do better than Steve Pederson, I think,” DiPasquale said.

Pederson was named Pitt’s athletic director in 1996. He’s known for moving Pitt from the Big East to the ACC, but his handling of the football coaching situation has drawn widespread criticism.

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Panther fans know all too well about the parade of football coaches under Pederson.

Dave Wannstadt let go. Michael Haywood hired and fired two weeks later after charged in a domestic dispute. Todd Graham was next, but left 11 months later.

Finally, Paul Chryst who left after three seasons.

Then, there’s the questions of Pederson’s settlement. He’s under a contract extension until 2018.

Reports are that Pederson is getting bought out for $2 million. A spokesman in the athletic department says the figure is wrong, but they won’t say exactly how much he’s getting.

“I think it’s outrageous. He doesn’t deserve it,” said one Pitt fan.

Pederson’s no stranger to seven-figure settlements. When he got canned at the University of Nebraska, reports are they gave him a check for over $2 million.

Randy Juhl, Vice Chancellor for Research, Conduct and Compliance will serve as Pitt’s Acting Athletic Director while Offensive Coordinator Joe Rudolph will serve as interim coach for the Panthers as they prepare for the Armed Forces Bowl on Jan. 2.

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