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Wannstedt signs three-year contract extension

Pitt announced today that football coach Dave Wannstedt has signed a three-year extension to his contract, through the 2012 season.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Wannstedt, in the third year of a five-year contract, has a 15-19 record in three seasons. Pitt (4-7, 2-4 Big East) plays at No. 2 West Virginia (10-1, 5-1) in the 100th Backyard Brawl tonight.

“When Dave Wannstedt became our head football coach, less than three years ago, it was our shared goal to build a football program grounded in appropriate values and structured for sustainable, long-term success,” Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg said. “Though everyone who cares about Pitt football wishes that this season had produced more victories on the field, clear signs of progress can be seen in this young, talented and clearly committed team.

“Formalizing a contract extension for Coach Wannstedt never was viewed as an urgent matter, either by him or by the University, because the three principals involved – coach Wannstedt, interim athletic director Donna Sanft and me – all agreed that we were going to make this happen. It is good, though, that the papers now have been signed, so that contract issues do not loom even as a potential distraction and coach Wannstedt is even better positioned to continue building an ever stronger program.”

Wannstedt had publicly campaigned for an extension to enhance his recruiting efforts.

“The day I accepted the head coaching position at the University of Pittsburgh, I said that our goal was to firmly place Pitt among the very best programs in the country,” said Wannstedt, who was named head coach of his alma mater in December 2004. “That goal has not changed and I believe now more than ever that we are doing all the necessary things to reach that level. We are fortunate to have a great leadership team at Pitt that supports our football program’s aspirations. Together we are building something very special that our university, city and region will be proud of.”

Wannstedt’s extension comes one day after Pitt hired Steve Pederson as athletic director.

“My relationship with Dave dates back to my initial arrival at Pitt 11 years ago,” Pederson said. “I know that he is passionately committed to the University of Pittsburgh and its football program. We are going to work very hard and do everything we can to help him and our program achieve at the highest levels. I couldn’t be more excited about our future and what we can accomplish working together.”

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