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Pederson to return as Pitt’s AD

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Steve Pederson is returning as Pitt’s athletic director, and will be introduced today at a 12:30 p.m. news conference, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has learned.

This will be Pederson’s second tenure in a position he held from October 28, 1996 until Dec. 20, 2002, when he left to become athletic director at the University of Nebraska, his alma mater.

Pederson, 50, was fired by Nebraska Oct. 15, following the football team’s 45-14 loss to Oklahoma State, its worst home loss in almost 50 years.

Pederson had received a five-year contract extension in July with a $500,000 annual salary with additional incentives, and had a buyout worth more than $2 million.

Nebraska also fired Bill Callahan, Pederson’s choice as football coach, after the Cornhuskers finished 5-7. Callahan compiled a 27-22 record in four seasons.

In his seven years at Pitt, Pederson was responsible for hiring Walt Harris as football coach, Ben Howland as men’s basketball coach and Traci Waites as women’s basketball coach, and extending the contracts of both Harris and Howland after they turned around struggling programs. None of the three are still at Pitt.

Under Pederson’s watch, Pitt also unveiled new school colors and football uniforms, razed Pitt Stadium and built the Petersen Events Center in its place, moved the football facilities to the UPMC Sports Performance Complex on the South Side and began playing home football games at Heinz Field.

Pederson replaces Jeff Long, who left Pitt in September to become the head of the athletic department at the University of Arkansas.

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