Carl Pelini thinks his firing from FAU was not exclusively because of drug use allegations, but also part of an agenda for new athletic director Pat Chun.
In a radio interview on KFAB, the Omaha-based station that broadcasts Nebraska football, Pelini rehashed some of the back-and-forth regarding his resignation-turned-dismissal from Nov. 2013. According to the Associated Press, Pelini believes that office politics played a role in his exit.
"Ultimately, I think it boiled down to an athletic director who didn't hire me," Pelini said in the interview via the AP. "We were making improvements. He came down there from Ohio State. He was their No. 1 fundraiser and made a lot of promises about money he was going to raise and changes we were going to make facilities-wise. He was not having a lot of success and we were growing as a football program. I think he wanted to hitch his reins to a new horse and get some credit for it and wanted to make a change."
Pat Chun announced on Oct. 30 that Pelini and defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis had resigned after allegations surfaced regarding illegal drug use. Though a member of his FAU staff claims to have personally witnessed marijuana and cocaine use, Pelini denies using illegal drugs. The former Owls' coach told the radio station that he regrets resigning and blames Chun for being misleading during the process.
"I trusted him," Pelini said. "He looked at me over the desk and said, 'If you sign this paper, I will take care of you. I'll explain what went down. We want to be clear about why you resigned.' And then he wasn't. He went back on his word and it really disappointed me."
When Pelini asked to withdraw his resignation, FAU responded by firing him for failing "to report certain conduct of a staff member." According to the AP, drug use was not mentioned explicitly in the letter notifying Pelini of his firing.
An FAU spokeswoman told the AP that Chun "has generally not commented on Pelini."
Pelini says he has taken the year off from coaching and moved back to Nebraska, where he lived while working as his brother's defensive coordinator for the Cornhuskers from 2008-11. He totaled a 5-15 record in two seasons with the Owls.