Wannstedt, 52, a native of Baldwin Borough in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, was an offensive tackle for Pitt in the early 1970s and later an assistant coach on the Panthers staff.
"This opportunity is something I have dreamed about since my early coaching days at Pitt," Wannstedt said. "I am excited about rejoining the Pitt family and making a positive contribution and difference with the football team, the university and community."
Wannstedt resigned as coach of the Dolphins Nov. 9 after the team got off to a 1-8 start. He finished with a 42-31 record in five-plus seasons at Miami. His overall NFL record, including a six-year run with the Chicago Bears, is 82-87.
Wannstedt had been a leading candidate for the Pitt job but last week removed his name from consideration, saying the timing was wrong. He decided to take the job after subsequent talks with Athletic Director Jeff Long.