Dave Wannstedt with Jim Lachimia

A Q&A with the head football coach of the University of Pittsburgh




PM: The success Pittsburgh sports teams have enjoyed recently - the Steelers winning another Super Bowl, the Pens winning the Stanley Cup, the Pitt basketball team being ranked No. 1 in the country a couple of different times - has been pretty incredible. Does that make fans less appreciative of what your team did last year when it posted nine victories and went to a bowl game? Are they still longing for more?

DW: Yeah, they are and I think that's fine. I'm here for one reason: to try to win a national championship. The minute I get an indication in my heart that we can't do it or people don't want that to happen, then I'll go coach somewhere else. I mean that's our goal: to be a national championship team. Every time the Steelers win a Super Bowl or the Penguins win the Stanley Cup and there's a parade, that's something I want our recruits to see. I want them to see it and realize what we have here in Pittsburgh because it's a reflection on all of us. I try to use all those things as advantages in our recruiting process.

PM: What's it been like for you to become immersed in the city of Pittsburgh again after being away for so many years? Did the city change much during that time?

DW: It has changed, but I think all for the good. Where our offices are right now [on the South Side], 35 years ago when I was going to school at Pitt that was J&L Steel. I worked right there in the mills for two summers in that exact location. So it's really remarkable when you think not only have the steel mills shut down, but they're gone and new buildings and new businesses have been built and are up and running. So the city has changed, but the people haven't. That's what really separates Pittsburgh from other cities. We play all over the country from L.A. to Miami, and every city has strengths and weaknesses, but I think the thing that separates Pittsburgh is the people. The people haven't changed.

PM: When you say the people here haven't changed, what are you talking about specifically?

DW:
I believe Pittsburgh people are loyal to their own. I think Pittsburgh people are people that have a real understanding and appreciation for effort and hard work. I don't think that ever gets lost here. I don't think that edge or that mindset has ever changed. Pittsburgh people are tough-minded. There's that common denominator of steadiness, of work ethic, of mental toughness and of "I'll find a way to make it happen." I would like to think that when someone classifies someone from Pittsburgh, those are the qualities that they talk about. I see it in individuals around here, and I have for a long time.
 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Growing Their Own Way: Inside 4 Pittsburgh Family Farms

Growing Their Own Way: Inside 4 Pittsburgh Family Farms

Family-run farms adapt in multiple ways in order to thrive in western Pennsylvania.
Loud & Proud: In the Booth with Voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Loud & Proud: In the Booth with Voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Greg Brown knows anything is possible for his beloved Buccos. His career has had its share of surprise turns as well.
Flavorful Tacos are Main Attraction at Lawrenceville's SMOKE

Flavorful Tacos are Main Attraction at Lawrenceville's SMOKE

Reasonable prices and a lively atmosphere make SMOKE barbeque taqueria one of Pittsburgh's go-to restaurants.
Belief and (Tough) Love Drive Pitt's New Football Coach

Belief and (Tough) Love Drive Pitt's New Football Coach

Pitt football head coach Pat Narduzzi is determined to make the Panthers believe in themselves and their program.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Bicyclists Getting More Lanes in Lawrenceville, Oakland

Bicyclists Getting More Lanes in Lawrenceville, Oakland

Some of the new lanes are expected to be in place by the end of the month.
Taking Over: Brit Boy Band Boots Actress from Hotel Room

Taking Over: Brit Boy Band Boots Actress from Hotel Room

Eliza Dushku cheekily posted to Instagram when One Direction and their entourage forced her to make other lodging arrangements.
Arcade Heaven: Where Pinball and Pac-Man are Preserved

Arcade Heaven: Where Pinball and Pac-Man are Preserved

Fortunately, the Pennsylvania Coin Operated Gaming Hall of Fame and Museum is not a stuffy, hands-off collection of antiques.
Pittsburghers Mobilize to Rescue Popular Pizza Shop

Pittsburghers Mobilize to Rescue Popular Pizza Shop

In a span of just a few days, Spak Bros. has endured a burglary, an equipment failure and a social-media hack.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Growing Their Own Way: Inside 4 Pittsburgh Family Farms

Growing Their Own Way: Inside 4 Pittsburgh Family Farms

Family-run farms adapt in multiple ways in order to thrive in western Pennsylvania.
Loud & Proud: In the Booth with Voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Loud & Proud: In the Booth with Voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Greg Brown knows anything is possible for his beloved Buccos. His career has had its share of surprise turns as well.
Flavorful Tacos are Main Attraction at Lawrenceville's SMOKE

Flavorful Tacos are Main Attraction at Lawrenceville's SMOKE

Reasonable prices and a lively atmosphere make SMOKE barbeque taqueria one of Pittsburgh's go-to restaurants.
Belief and (Tough) Love Drive Pitt's New Football Coach

Belief and (Tough) Love Drive Pitt's New Football Coach

Pitt football head coach Pat Narduzzi is determined to make the Panthers believe in themselves and their program.
PittGirl's Reliable & Delightful Crash Course on Pittsburgh

PittGirl's Reliable & Delightful Crash Course on Pittsburgh

She shares the truth about everything from driving technique to Terrible Towel etiquette for anyone new to the 'Burgh.
Top Dentists 2015

Top Dentists 2015

The Pittsburgh region's 346 premier dentists in 9 specialties.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module