Monday, December 5, 2011

Wannstedt continues to show a total lack of class

Believe it or not, I used to like former Panthers head coach Dave Wannstedt.  He was clearly a "Pitt man" and he seemed like a decent person.  But things changed at his post-firing press conference when he caused a scene by being defiant and petty.  It made the university look bad, a university that he proclaims his love for.  And now he's at it again.

Today, in an interview in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, that actually comes from the paper's radio interview, Wannstedt criticized the present regime, and their handling of quarterback Tino Sunseri.  One choice Wannstedt quote:

"If he was my son, he would be gone.  I would pull him out of there and transfer him."

Sounds exactly like a quitter, like Wannstedt did when he quit on the Miami Dolphins in midseason.

Wannstedt also said that he stays in touch with many of his former players, which would explain why veteran Lucas Nix made comments that he wasn't exactly into the new system, and all the more reason why Pitt will not be excellent until the last remains of Wannstedt are purged from the program forever.

Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but a former coach should not criticize the coach that replaced him.  Especially when the coach who replaced him had nothing to do with getting him fired.  Graham has said nothing but nice things about Wannstedt.  If only Wannstedt had the same class.

Wannstedt did not live out his dream of turning Pitt back into a power.  But he still could have remained a pleasant footnote in Pitt history.  Now he will be remembered as a pathetic and bitter man.


  1. Okay, so now I'm confused. Other than the 'Cuse game, Tina Sunseri wasn't any better last year -- despite being in a pro system that was supposedly moreso his strong suit. He had the same flaws last year:

    1. Hitting guys in the shoes on the bounce one play, then throwing weak lobs -- moon-shots --then overthrowing his freak of nature 6'-5 NFL caliber WR with 40+ vertical on the next. Remember the ND game?

    2. Hopelessly scatter-armed: remember Utah in OT, when he threw so far behind his WR on the sideline that it was even behind the trailing DB? Interception, game over!

    3. Taking stupid sacks at the worst possible time. Remember the Miami game?

    4. Making turnovers at key times to demoralize his team to where they quit on him (remember the WVU game?).

    5. Under pressure, he melts like a sand castle at high tide. Remember the total abortion that was the UConn game? IMHO, one of the worst losses in Pitt history.

    6-10. I could go on and on, omitted for brevity.

    So why didn't Sackseri's head coach last year (what was his name again?) bench him? And if Tino the Great wasn't the starter at the end of last year, he wouldn't have had the insurmountable head start as the incumbent this year.

    I spent the entire last season caterwauling for Pitt to bench him and play Bostick, even if just long enough to get Sackseri to take the job seriously. I only recall Bostick taking a few snaps in Miami.

    Easy for Wanny to say what he'd do now. Had he done it last year -- played Bostick so we could have at least beaten UConn and played in the Fiesta Bowl instead of the toothless Huskies -- he'd still be the head coach today.

    Instead, we heard this same old saw: "Sunseri gives us the best chance to win." Sickening then, sickening now.


  2. Like I said, he's just bitter because he got fired and now he's lashing out. He really needs to worry about righting the Bills and move on with his life.

  3. I still think Wanny has a lot of explaining to do with his Hamlet act over coaching the bowl game last year. For someone who was a player's coach, it didn't seem fair to leave his guys in the lurch.

    I think it's refreshing that Coach Graham has set excellence as his goal (winning Big East championships, etc.) instead of accepting mediocrity.

  4. Criticize his act of commenting all you want but he is right. Graham threw players, mainly Sunseri, under the bus all year. You dont do what he did. I know Chris will defend that move by Graham but the real classless person in all of this Sunseri stuff is Graham himself. You just dont do what he did to Tino in the media all year. And, as Smizik has pointed out, his handling of tino in the media probably didnt help his chances of recruiting future guys out of Central.

    Blame wanny all you want but blame graham even more for constantly throwing tino under the bus to the media.

  5. Whether he's right or not, isn't the point. The point is that he has another job now and it's no longer his business.

    As for Graham criticizing Sunseri, boo hoo. It's football. Cry me a river. There are coaches who would have ripped Sunseri's head off for his play. All Graham does is hint that his QB stinks, and we all know it already. What's he supposed to do- lie? I hate that pansy stuff. Graham has gone as far as anybody can reasonably expect in pretending like he doesn't have an awful quarterback.

  6. This is MAJOR (or supposed to be) college football period! If you can't take the boo's then go find something else to do. This isn't pee wee or even high school... it's a billion dollar industry. Stop acting like these young MEN are babies. The are football players for cryin' out loud! SOFT SOFT SOFT. Believe me this garbage doesn't happen in Alabama... they don't tolerate mediocrity (I lived there for 2 years).

    And can we please stop mentioning the "W" guy. He's stricken from my vocabulary.

  7. Ridiculous. There is nothing wrong in how Graham handled Tino through the media. Are you old enough to remember how tough Walt was on QBs? Walt had more QB coaching talent in his pinky finger than Wannstedt and certainly Mr. Anonymous will ever have. Spurrior doesn't hold back on QBs and is another great QB mentor. Wannstedt has no clue about what it takes to nuture the QB position and really needs to STFU.

  8. Wannstedt should be thinking about how to improve the Bills run defense rather than texting Lucas Nix like a teenage girl and worrying about Tino's Sunseri's self-esteem or else he'll be looking for another job once again. Tino will walk away with a free education from a major university while his peers will be in debt for years paying off an education that he was awarded for being a terrible QB. In exchange, I think Graham has a right to demand excellence from his starting QB. Graham has been more than gracious with Tino in media this year while also making it clear he will not accept mediocrity or coddle his QB.

  9. #1 What football team would want him.
    #2 So it is OK to throw a QB under the bus and run him out of town if he makes 10 million.
    #4 He deserves special treatment because his dad played at Pitt.
    #5 Is anyone surprised he could not win the Big East

  10. Aren't journalists always praising athletes and coaches for their honesty and criticizing coaches and players who talk in Bull Durham cliches and bland pronouncements?

    Must have mistaken that for some alternate universe ....

    What we don't know is what is happening behind the scenes, at practice, in the film room. Wouldn't you be seething if you watch the player at the most important position absolutely, positively refuse to do what you are telling him to do? As someone who has to grade/advise/manage college students in a classroom, I can tell you that at least a third of them need a good kick in the privates on a regular basis.

    And another thing, isn't Sunseri getting a free ride at one of the top universities in the country?

  11. Go take a long walk off a short pier! Dave did more for this program than TG (AND SP) ever did and will ever do! Try not to confuse TG with JM....I know JM and TG "ain't" he!

    TG will be long gone in 3 years...SP even sooner!

    Mark my words!

  12. Wanny continues to tarnish his legacy. Not only did he act like a spoiled child last year by not coaching these players "he cares so much for" in last year's bowl, but now he is telling his successor how to handle the team.

    Someone should mention to Wanny that the Bills have lost five in a row and he needs to get involved in solving that problem. Is is any wonder that the people in Miami and Chicago dislike this guy so much?

  13. Wanny is a pud.

    That is all.

  14. Chris, as usual, I think you're thoughts are pretty astute and on target. To be honest, I'm not sure how Graham has handled the Tino situation as well as he has.

    I mean, he's had to watch total incompetence for almost 5 months now and been forced to grin and bear it. He has a QB with NO instincts whatsoever. I've never seen a D1 athlete, much less a starting D1 QB, who lacks instincts and natural feel like Sunseri does. The fact that Graham was able to put a bow on this and get us to a bowl game is nothing short of a miracle.

    I have no doubt Graham would've benched Sunseri if he had a better option, but he didn't, and why is that?? Because the other guys that Wanny brought in were even worse than Tino.

    Wanny needs to find his dignity, enjoy his buyout, coach the Bills to the bottom of the AFC East and let PITT alone. He's already dug us a deep enough hole.

  15. We've got 18 &19yo dying in battle for our country but Todd Graham his being too hard on a 23yo by expecting him to execute a gameplan in a football game. No wonder we could win the big least under wanny. Too much coddling ... No Accountability.

  16. Chris,
    So let me get this right. It's okay for the current coach to be critical of his current players during a press conference and in comments to the press in general, but it's not okay for a ex-coach to be critical of the current coaching?
    Sorry, but methinks you are being a tad hypocritical here. If you think Dave should have kept his mouth shout, then I suggest TG should do the same when it comes to speaking about his players. Otherwise, I think it only fair that players should speak about the many mistakes that TG has done this year. The next time TG wants to lament that Tino is all he has to work with, I think Tino should fire right back about the lunacy of having a roll-out pass called on 3rd and 1 while trying to protect a lead or maybe Bennett should talk about lack of touches in 3rd and short.

  17. Chris, I love the new blog and the complete honesty you have been writing with.

    Wannstedt is the epitome of sore loser. He was the king of blaming his players- every loss we heard the same story, I need faster players, we need more execution. I don't think he ever blamed himself or his staff. Now he thinks there HC should be sticking up for them, what a joke.

    And I agree on Graham, he has not thrown anyone under the bus, in fact his comments on Sunseri have been too soft, his play has sucked. This is football, if you don't perform, you should expect to hear it, if you can't deal with that you shouldn't be playing.

    It's not hypocritical Wannstedt, who at this point has no involvement with the program and no reason to speak in negative terms, when Graham has done nothing but praise him for the crap he left on the roster in some positions. What is Graham supposed to do say our QB play is terrific. He sugar coated it as much as possible.

    Tino has zero room to fire back at anyone.

  18. Thucydides, you must have never played football. I once saw a coach tell a kid that if he missed his assignment one more time he was going to punch his dad in the face. I saw another coach chase a kid with a baseball bat because he fumbled in practice. And these were in high school.

    All Graham did was allude to the fact that his QB is failing, something that everybody already knows. Sorry, but I can't believe this is even an issue.

    As for Wannstedt, it's classless. You don't leave a job and then try to sabotage your replacement. Especially when your replacement had nothing to do with you leaving. Wannstedt is being a little crybaby.

  19. Chris,
    I did play football thru High School and I assure you that I never had a coach threaten to do anything violent to a player or a relative of a player. Such conduct is reprehensible and I think even criminal. Besides that it's extremely poor leadership...
    Great leaders lead by example and I do not think TG follows this. When was the last time Urban Myer blasted a player or blamed a players for a loss? I had the pleasure of meeting Phil Fulmer before and I assure you that man , while being tough on his players, would never have made comments about his players like that to the press. It's not wise and he knew that other coaches will use it against him in recruiting battle.
    What you fail to recognize is that there are many reason that Pitt's season was a failure and many of them point to the current coach.

  20. Wannstedt couldn't recruit linebackers at Pitt, and he certainly cannot coach them up in the NFL. Wannstedt is proof that you can make it very far in life riding the coattails of Jimmy Johnson. His epitaph will read....Here lies DW, his non-blitzing schemes were so profound that they were once responsible for making UCONN WR (turned 3rd string QB) D.J. Hernandez into the Big East player of the week.

  21. Do me a favor and post a link that shows where Graham was vicious to Sunseri.

  22. Tino is that you posting? Really going to blame this season on the coach. He led a team with probably the worst QB play in D1 football over the last 10 years to nearly winning the BE. It's amazing they are bowl eligible with what I have seen from that position. This will be a successful team in the near future.

    Amazed at the vendetta some have against Graham.

    What did Graham ever say that was so bad? We can't take sacks and need to get the ball out... something we all didn't know.
    He blames the coaching staff for not having players ready constantly, heck he's taken credit for a lot of the sacks this season.

    Wanny blamed the players for "lack of execution" week in and week out like a broken record. Do you not remember this????

    Yes point to Saint Urban who runs as clean of a program as Penn State. What was the stat? something like 30 arrests in 4 years of coaching there. Imagine how many incidents went unreported because it was a UF football player involved. Please don't point to him as a model.

  23. If Graham pretended that all was fine and dandy with the QB situation, he would have been blasted in the media for being delusional. He alluded to the issues at QB and never rolled Tino under the bus. Even a no comment would have been more damaging to Tino than saying there have been faults at the position.

    If you want to see a coach embarrassing a QB in public, look at The Ole' Ball Coach and his days in Florida. People were pissed about Graham not giving props to Tino after throwing for 400 yards. Guess what? Tino's previous good performance led to a bad week of practice and cockiness. Graham was keeping him humble.

    EVERYONE has been calling for Tino to benched and Graham has stuck with him for the ENTIRE season.

    What did Graham do wrong? Tell the media that Tino is holding the ball too long? Well, he was. That Tino hasn't picked up the offense as fast as he had hoped? Well, he didn't.

  24. When Graham said Sunseri gave them the best chance to win, people got angry with him. Then when he says that Sunseri has to do better, people get angry at him. The guy can't win with some people. I don't get why so many fans, and even more surprisingly, why so many of the local media, has it in for the guy. I can see if people think he may not be a great coach for Pitt because he hasn't done it yet. But he doesn't seem like a bad guy and while far from perfect as a coach this year, his team clearly improved, greatly in some areas. So it just seems strange to have such spite for the guy.

  25. I never said vicious..I said blasted.
    And while I do not have the link, did not TG when question about Tino after the WVU loss, said the following verbatim: "This is what we have to work with."
    That clearly is criticism and I think crosses the line. If TG wants to be that way, then I fine but it's clearly hypocritical for his fans to react with such vitriol when he faces criticism.

    As for the poster who protested the example of Urban, what college football fan would NOT make the Hobson's choice of winning multiple BCS championship games, having at least 1 undefeated season, with the tradeoff off having over 30 arrests? I daresay every Pitt fan would as would every fan of a BCS school.

  26. How do you know he was talking about Sunseri only when he said that? He's been critical of the passing game all season, as well he should. Sunseri, the WRs, and the pass protection have all been lacking. So when he said this is what they have to work with, he was talking about all of the passing game. So why isn't anybody standing up for Shanahan's feelings? He gets trashed, too. As does Street. They are just as guilty for this mess.

  27. Let me also say that Max Gruder and Ryan Turnley aren't exactly good players, but they've earned my respect because they don't have a lot of physical talent but they try hard and gut it out. To me, Sunseri, Shanahan, and Street do not show me the same toughness and guts. If they did, I would get off of them. Paul Zeise said Sunseri has been arrogant. That's enough for me not to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's giving it his all.

  28. The comment on Urban was because you were acting like he is a standup guy for not calling players out. He's not, he runs a dirty program where players can do whatever the heck they want.

    Also Chris, remember Tino after WVU took not responsibility himself. He said we just couldn't get it out, we couldn't throw it away and then singled out some of the freshmen by name for making mistakes.

  29. Urban Meyer also waltzed into a program that traditionally wins and he got out of town as soon as his talent left or graduated? Pitt has traditionally in the last 30 years or so lost. That is the same as saying Nick Saban would not throw someone under the bus...well no because they win 9 to 12 games every year, there is no reason to throw people under the bus? I agree with Chris, Graham is pointing out what we already know. It would be worse if he said Tino is good and there are no issues? As someone said earlier, funny how we forget Walt harris berating his quarterbacks? If Tino gets an office job and performs poorly you think his boss is going to coddle him and say it is ok little Tino. No they will fire him? People need to snap back to reality here. You perform badly in any situation over and over again then you get rightfully trashed.

  30. Chris, you obviously dealt with Dave in person when he was the head coach at Pitt. What kind of relationship did you have with him?

    Regarding Zeise saying that Sunseri was arrogant: What about you? You've been around him directly, what are your thoughts?

  31. Doke:

    I see two sides of this situation. On the one hand, I subscribe to the thinking that college players are not highly paid professionals so should not be dumped on excessively with criticism. On the other hand, I couldn't agree more that Wannstedt's critical comments about Graham are inappropriate to say the least.

    While on the subject of inappropriate comments that Wannstedt has made, will you please tell me what his defiant and petty comments were after being fired? I have seen these comments mentioned several times since then but have never read exactly what he said. Will you please fill in this blank for me?

  32. I don't agree with coaches explicitly trashing their players in college sports, but I just don't understand what he's supposed to say. If he says Sunseri is doing a good job then people will complain that he's delusional. And he didn't flat out say Sunseri stinks. All he did was allude to the fact that the QB play isn't good and needs to be better, which is pretty much the same thing every coach who's ever lived has said.

  33. I do think it's fair to criticize Graham for throwing Sunseri under the bus to a point, because the guy is human and Tino's performance this year was probably the worst TG has ever had to endure. I also think it's reasonable to expect Wanny to be somewhat upset at not being successful at Pitt. But the problem is that DW still is upset that he got fired, not realizing the endless array of mistakes he made as a head coach. His arrogance is his biggest flaw.

  34. Good stuff Chris. I'm glad someone is countering Smizik's take on the incident.

    "Anonymous" (right above this post) makes some valid comments... only I believe Wannstedt's biggest flaw isn't his arrogance so much as it is his ignorance. He didn't know how to win. He doesn't understand how to leave a job with dignity. And he doesn't realize when he's making unprofessional and immature statements.

    1. Wannstedt was wrong in making the comments he did. It is no longer your team Dave- heneeds to butt out.

    2. Wannstedt doesn't even realize he was being harsher on Tino than anything Graham said about him when he stated "If he can't play, don't play him."

    3. Todd Graham was not tougher on his QB than most other D1 coaches- Just ask ND's Brian Kelly. Graham didn't say Tino was terrible... He suggested Sunseri didn't play well after a game in which he didn't play well...and then once stated "It is puzzling. I don't understand it" in reference to the fact that Tino keeps taking sacks instead of getting rid of the ball- something Tino kept saying he needed to do better for the next game and then didn't do. I'd have to call that puzzling, as well.

    4. If a coach states to the press that one of his players is terrible in a way that suggests the player could never get better, then it is inappropriate. If a coach says his QB and some other individuals had bad games (something that implies they did not play up to their potential) then it is fair game. Graham did the latter.

  35. Doke:

    Thank you for your response to my comment (above), but will you please answer my question that followed: While on the subject of inappropriate comments that Wannstedt has made, will you please tell me what his defiant and petty comments were after being fired? I have seen these comments mentioned several times since then but have never read exactly what he said. Will you please fill in this blank for me?

  36. He emphasized loyalty and clearly was referring to the university not being loyal to him.

    He made a scene by letting his players stand up with him and the press conference before storming out like a child.

  37. "When was the last time Urban Myer blasted a player or blamed a players for a loss?

    Urban Meyer lied about having a serious illness in order to bail on the players he recruited after Tebow graduated. Then he lied about talking to OSU....

    I personally would much rather have an honest coach who berates me when I mess up.

  38. You are calling Wanny a cry baby? Coming from a guy who is crying about what a former coach had to say is completely hilarious. Its not like Wanny wrote a blog post about the guy or anything ;) #hypocrite #growapair