Dave Wannstedt
Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator


Dave Wannstedt was named Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator on January 2, 2012 after serving one season as the Bills’ Assistant Head Coach/Inside Linebackers. He spent the previous six years as the head coach at his alma mater the University of Pittsburgh.

18th year in the NFL

2nd year with the Bills

    Dave Wannstedt was named Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator on January 2, 2012 after serving one season as the Bills’ Assistant Head Coach/Inside Linebackers. He spent the previous six years as the head coach at his alma mater the University of Pittsburgh.
    In 2011, ILBs Nick Barnett (130 TT) and Kelvin Sheppard (61 TT) finished first and fourth, respectively, in total tackles on the team.  Barnett also matched a career-best with three interceptions and a defensive touchdown.

    In 2009, Pittsburgh posted a 10-3 record marking the school’s highest win total since 1981, including a 19-17 win over North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl… the team closed out the 2009 campaign with a No. 15 national ranking, Pittsburgh’s highest since 1982.

    The Panthers recorded 19 wins from 2008-09, ranking as the second-highest win total in the Big East Conference

    Notable players under Wannstedt’s tenure in Pittsburgh include 2007 first-round draft choice CB Darrelle Revis (New York Jets), 2008 first-round selection T Jeff Otah (Carolina Panthers) and 2009 second-round selection RB LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles).

    Prior to re-joining his alma mater, Wannstedt spent 16 seasons in the NFL coaching ranks, including two head coaching stints (Miami Dolphins: 2000-04 and Chicago Bears: 1993-98).

    As the head coach of the Dolphins from 2000-04, Wannstedt’s team posted a 42-31 record including consecutive postseason appearances in his first two years. In 1999, Wannstedt joined the Dolphins’ staff as defensive coordinator.

    In his first year as head coach of the Dolphins in 2000, Miami clinched the AFC East title with an 11-5 record... the defense ranked third in the NFL in points allowed with a franchise-low of 226 points and led the league with 28 interceptions… Wannstedt was named NFL Coach of the Year in 2000 by FOX’s Terry Bradshaw (Terry’s Awards).

    Wannstedt registered a 41-23 record from 2000-03 in Miami which tied for fifth among all NFL coaches in the four-year span… the Dolphins were one of three NFL teams from 2000-03 to win nine or more games each season.

    Wannstedt was tabbed the head coach of the Chicago Bears in 1993. From 1993-98, he totaled 41 wins, finishing as the third-winningest coach in team history. In 1994, Wannstedt earned NFC Coach of the Year honors from UPI and Football News after guiding Chicago to its first playoff berth in three years. The Bears posted back-to-back winning seasons in 1994-95 and were the least-penalized team each season.

    From 1989-92, Wannstedt was a member of the Dallas Cowboys’ coaching staff. Before being elevated to Assistant Head Coach in 1992, he served as Defensive Coordinator from 1989-91. The Cowboys’ defense led the league in total defense, yielding just 245.7 yards per game in 1992 en route to a 52-17 win over Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVII. Inheriting a defense that ranked 20th in the league the year prior to his arrival, Wannstedt’s squad led the league in defense in 1990 against the pass and 18th versus the run. He was tabbed The National’s NFL Assistant Coach of the Year. In 1991, the Cowboys improved to ninth against the run as they made the playoffs for the first time since 1985.

    Before joining the NFL ranks, Wannstedt spent 14 years on the college sidelines.

    He helped guide the Miami Hurricanes to a 34-2 (.944) record from 1986-88 as the school’s Defensive Coordinator. The Hurricanes advanced to three New Year’s Day bowl games including the 1987 Fiesta Bowl and the Orange Bowl in 1988 and 1989. Miami captured the 1987 national title with a 12-0 record. Wannstedt’s Hurricane defense held opponents to three-year averages of 2.2 yards per rush and 10.9 points per game. The defense produced 11 NFL draft selections, including five in the first two rounds.

    Wannstedt spent the 1983-85 seasons at Southern California as the program’s Defensive Line coach. The school earned two bowl appearances. In 1984, the Trojans captured the Pac 10 Title and a 20-17 Rose Bowl win over Ohio State while posting a top-10 finish with a 9-3 record.

    Before joining USC, Wannstedt spent four years at Oklahoma State (1979-81 Defensive Line; 1982 Defensive Coordinator). The Cowboys earned their first bowl invite in five years in 1981 to the Independence Bowl.

    He was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 1974 Draft, but spent the season on Injured Reserve with a neck injury. Wannstedt returned to Pittsburgh as a graduate assistant from 1975-76 and the Panthers’ Receivers/Special Teams coach from 1977-78. Pittsburgh captured the 1976 national title with a 12-0 record. The Panthers advanced to a bowl game in each of his four years on the coaching staff, capturing three wins and finished in the nation’s top-15 three times and top-10 twice. From 1975-78, the school produced a 37-10-1 (.781) record.



Wannstedt was a three-year starter at offensive tackle at Pitt from 1970-73. He captained the squad’s 1973 Fiesta Bowl team and helped freshman RB Tony Dorsett rush for 1,686 rushing yards in ’73. He was selected by Green Bay in the 1974 NFL Draft before a neck injury ended his pro aspirations. An all-state player at Baldwin High School, Wannstedt played in the Big 33 Classic all-star game. He also excelled at basketball and track and field in high school. Wannstedt and his wife Jan have two daughters, Keri (husband Mike) and Jami (husband Eddie).  Wannstedt also has two grandsons, Connor and James.



   2012-   Buffalo Bills Asst. Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator
   2011    Buffalo Bills Asst. Head Coach/ILBs

   2000-04                     Miami Dolphins            Head Coach

   1999    Miami Dolphins   Assistant Head Coach

   1993-98                     Chicago Bears               Head Coach
   1992    Dallas Cowboys   Assistant Head Coach

   1989-91                     Dallas Cowboys            Defensive Coordinator

   2005-10                     Pittsburgh      Head Coach

   1986-88                     Miami (FL)     Defensive Coordinator
   1983-85                     Southern Calif.              Defensive Line

    1979-82            Oklahoma St.       Def. Coord./Def. Line
    1977-78            Pittsburgh             Receivers/Special Teams
    1975-76            Pittsburgh             Graduate Assistant