Northwestern interviewed ex-Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt, others for special assistant job, per report


Northwestern held conversations with multiple former coaches, including ex-NFL and Pittsburgh Panthers coach David Wannstedt, regarding a special assistant role with the program in 2023, according to ESPN. The university reportedly wants a veteran to assist interim coach David Braun, who takes over in 2023 after Northwestern fired longtime coach Pat Fitzgerald amid hazing allegations.

In an interview with a Chicago-area radio station Thursday, Wannstedt confirmed that he met with Northwestern AD Darrick Gragg over the weekend to discuss the role. Wannstedt, however, said he removed himself from consideration due to the vague nature of the job description. 

“What’s the role of this guy? You bring somebody else in that’s going to be there every day and be in the press box and involved in the playcalling, you’re going to lose the players,” Wannstedt told WSCR radio Thursday. “The players need to be playing for their head coach. The coaches need to know they’re coaching with the head coach, is their guy, or everybody’s going to sit on their hands.”

Wannstedt says Nothwestern reached out to veteran coach Skip Holtz, but he also declined the job. 

Fitzgerald had coached the Wildcats since 2006. He was fired by Northwestern on July 11. Fitzgerald and Northwestern are the subjects of lawsuits that allege incidents of hazing and racial discrimination that were said to have occurred under Fitzgerald’s watch. 


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