(AP) FAU’s Carl Pelini resigns after drug allegation
By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Sports Writer
BOCA RATON, Fla.
Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini and defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis both resigned Wednesday after university officials said they acknowledged using illegal drugs.
FAU received information about the allegations of drug usage by the two coaches on Monday, said athletic director Patrick Chun. An investigation began immediately and Chun confronted the coaches on Wednesday, a day when law enforcement officials also visited the school’s athletic offices.
Pelini was the head coach at practice in the morning. By late afternoon, he was gone.
Chun said that as of now, neither Pelini nor Rekstis is facing any charges. The investigation is continuing, and Chun said that was limiting the amount of information he could publicly reveal, other than the drug usage happened off-campus, not at an official school event, not on the team’s most recent road trip and that no players were involved. [Breitbart Sports Update: Other outlets have reported that the coaches attended a social event where marijuana was smoked.]
Neither of the former coaches were permitted to address the team before leaving campus. Howard Schnellenberger, the program’s founder and longtime coach who still serves as an ambassador for the university, was at Chun’s news conference Wednesday, looking crestfallen and sitting in silence.
Offensive coordinator Brian Wright will serve as interim head coach for the Owls, who are 2-6 and play host to Tulane on Saturday. It’s undecided if Wright will also continue serving in the coordinator role. Players were told of the dismissals Wednesday afternoon.
Pelini’s resignation was first reported by ESPN.com. Chun said the remainder of the coaching staff remains committed to the program.
Chun said two people came forward initially with information about the drug usage, sparking a need for an investigation. It moved swiftly, and FAU made the decision early Wednesday to confront the coaches after a morning practice. Police were summoned Wednesday, Chun said, “from a safety standpoint” to protect FAU property, but also indicated that the meetings with the coaches went professionally.
Pelini was 5-15 at FAU, coming to the Owls after serving as defensive coordinator on his brother Bo Pelini’s staff at Nebraska. Even after Wednesday’s developments, Chun was complimentary of Pelini and what he was building in Boca Raton, saying he left the program in better shape than when he found it, “in my opinion, at least,” Chun said.
Someone else will have to continue that task. FAU’s search for a permanent coach, Chun said, has begun.