Carl Pelini, a former defensive coordinator at Nebraska and fired football coach of Florida Atlantic, apparently is casting a wide net in an effort to return to the sport.
The brother of former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini applied for the head coaching job at Des Moines Lincoln High School (Iowa), activities director Phil Chia confirmed Wednesday.
“Anytime you have somebody with that type of name recognition, obviously that’s a shock,” Chia said.
Chia said Lincoln is not considering Pelini, later declining specific comment on the status of any applicant because the search is ongoing.
Carl Pelini left Nebraska after the 2011 season to lead Florida Atlantic, which fired him in October 2013 after athletic director Pat Chun cited alleged use of marijuana and cocaine by the coach and defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis.
Pelini has denied he used drugs, telling Sports Illustrated in a March 2014 interview that he was targeted because he had identified an affair involving a member of his staff. He added in an interview with an Omaha radio station that Chun, who was new to his position, wanted to hire his own football coach.
“There is a perception of me out there that’s not me,” Pelini told Sports Illustrated. “It’s such a 180-degree perception of who I am as a person.”
In November 2013, ESPN obtained a letter from then-interim president Dennis Crudele to Pelini that clarified the coach was fired because he “failed to timely report certain conduct of a member of your staff, as required by your contract” and wrote that the university “did not terminate your employment because of a finding that you used illegal drugs.”
The Register was unable to reach Pelini for comment.
Andy Campbell resigned as Lincoln’s coach in December after two seasons, citing “political” challenges involved with leading the program. At the time, Chia mentioned that the community remained somewhat divided after the dismissal of longtime coach Tom Mihalovich in 2012.
Pelini has been consistently successful as a high school coach, being named conference coach of the year in his first job at Winnetonka in Kansas City. He then orchestrated a major turnaround at Austintown-Fitch in Austintown, Ohio.
The coaching stops of Pelini also include time as a graduate assistant and restricted earnings coach under Bill Snyder at Kansas State. At Florida Atlantic, Pelini finished 5-15 in two seasons.
Chia said Lincoln scheduled a community forum about the job for Wednesday night. The AD plans to bring in six applicants and interviews begin Monday. Pelini, however, will not be one of those interviews.
The Lincoln administrator said he and Pelini have not talked. They exchanged emails after the initial application to discuss educational credentials.
Chia admitted that the job-seeker caught his attention, though.
“The last name, absolutely,” Chia said. “That’s an interesting resume — no doubt about it.”
Read more at desmoinesregister.com