Carl Pelini, now former Florida Atlantic head coach. Photo: USA Today Sports
Earlier today I got a chance to listen to Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini as a guest on Bill King's daily college football radio show. Pelini sounded a bit off during his regular appearance on the show, which may have been expected after Nebraska was dumped by Minnesota last weekend. Times have been tough for the Huskers head coach this season with Nebraska having to deal with some injuries, an old tape getting leaked with the coach blasting fans and a couple of losses once again putting a bit of a hot seat under Pelini. As rough as things may have been for Pelini in Lincoln, he still has a job, and perhaps he was a bit distracted by what was going on within his family this morning while doing his interview.
His brother, Carl Pelini, who was forced to resign today by Florida Atlantic.
Word started swirling earlier in the day that the other Pelini could be in some hot water, with reports of police showing up at the football facilities and a press conference scheduled for the afternoon. Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com reported via Twitter Pelini was resigning as head coach, effective immediately, and we later learned defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis was also asked to resign immediately. The two admitted to FAU to taking part in what some "illegal drug use," as reported by Sun Sentinel FAU reporter Dieter Kurtenbach via Twitter. Marijuana appears to be the drug used.
Offensive coordinator Brian Wright will serve as the interim head coach and linebackers coach Jevan Dewitt will fill in at defensive coordinator for the remainder of the season. Pelini had put together a record of 5-15 over his one and a half seasons on the job.
Now, let's discuss this situation. If this was an isolated event, as is being reported and a detail I honestly have to be somewhat skeptical of, was it the right move to let go of the head coach in the middle of the season? After all, players can get suspended for using illegal drugs, so why can't a coach serve a similar, lesser punishment than losing their job? It just feels like a rushed decision but I can see where the school may be coming from.
Say what you will about marijuana and where it ranks in the drug power rankings, but coaches are held to a higher degree and are asked to set forth an example both on and off the field, or court etc. A coach cannot carry any weight in punishing a player for using a drug if he himself has been caught doing the same. From Florida Atlantic's perspective, you cannot have leadership getting caught doing this, in public.
What a coach does on his own time is his business. If he wants to smoke up, so be it. It may be unfair to hold a coach on a higher pedestal than someone else, but that is the way it is. There may be other coaches out there who make use of recreational drugs from time to time, but if they can avoid getting caught in a social situation that reflects poorly on the image of the university and program, then there is no issue.
Is this the end for Pelini? I wouldn't count on it, although any program that adds him to their coaching staff may do so with a bit more caution. I'm suggesting Pelini should be required to go to drug rehab or take random drug tests, especially if this really was an isolated incident. Heck, maybe he finds a role on his brother's staff in 2014, whether it is in Lincoln or not.