Wannstedt On Coaching Watch List

While his players have garnered awards and named to various watch lists this season, Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt has not been recognized for orchestrating all the achievements since he returned to his alma mater.

All that has changed for the Pittsburgh native, as Wannstedt has been named to the watch list for the Paul "Bear'' Bryant College Football Coach of the Year award, it was announced by the Bryant Awards committee with the American Heart Association.

Wannstedt, who has led the Panthers to their best start in 27 years, is one of 20 coaches on the list. The selection committee includes national sports media members, current and past event chairmen, former collegiate players and coaches and Bryant family representatives.

Bryant Coach of the Year finalists will be announced in December and will attend an awards dinner in Houston, Texas, Jan. 14, 2010, when the winner will be announced. The winner of the Bryant College Football Coach of the Year award is selected by members of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and is the only college coaching award voted on after all bowl games are played.

Wannstedt, in his fifth year as head coach at Pitt, has led the Panthers to a 7-1 overall record and 4-0 Big East mark. The 7-1 start marks Pitt's best record after eight games since 1982.

The Panthers continue to climb in the national polls as well with a No. 16 ranking by The Associated Press and No. 17 spot in the USA Today coaches' poll. In the latest Bowl Championship Series standings (BCS), Pitt is No. 15.

Following an open date this week, Pitt returns to action Nov. 7 when it plays host to Syracuse at noon at Heinz Field. The game will be a national ESPNU telecast.

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