It took an official of the John Hancock Bowl to confirm the firing of Mike Gottfried as University of Pittsburgh football coach Friday.
"This is the first time we've had a team coming but no coach," said John Folmer, chairman of the team selection committee for the bowl, which will match No. 23-ranked Pitt against Texas A&M on Dec. 30. "I think a great deal of (Gottfried), and I'm disappointed the people of El Paso won't get to meet him. But (Pitt officials) told us (the team) will be there, and life goes on."
Although Pitt officials again refused to confirm Gottfried's firing, the coach was told Thursday by Athletic Director Ed Bozik that he could either resign and accept a buyout on his five-year roll-over contract or be fired.
Gottfried, who did not have a losing record in four seasons with the Panthers but had feuded with Bozik over academic matters, refused to quit and abruptly ended the meeting.
After the meeting, Folmer was told that Gottfried would not coach the Panthers in the bowl game.
Assistant Athletic Director Larry Eldridge said a news conference clarifying Gottfried's status could be held today or Sunday.
Pitt has not said whether any of Gottfried's assistants, including offensive coordinator Paul Hackett, would be considered as a replacement.
Gottfried's departure came on the same day Pitt announced it would adopt academic guidelines stronger than those called for under Proposition 48. Pitt will require prospective student-athletes to have a 2.3 grade-point average and a minimum 750 Scholastic Aptitude Test score. The NCAA requires a 2.0 average and a 700 score.