FAU fires coach Charlie Partridge as Owls continue seeking relevancy

The Charlie Partridge experiment did not work out in Boca Raton. USATSI

After posting a third consecutive 3-9 season, Charlie Partridge has been fired by FAU, the school announced Sunday afternoon.

Partridge, a native of South Florida and long-time assistant under Bret Bielema at Wisconsin and Arkansas, went 9-27 in three years with the Owls and just 7-17 in Conference USA.

"I want to thank Charlie Partridge for putting his heart and soul into Florida Atlantic University for the past three years," said athletic director Pat Chun in a statement. "He led our program with integrity and character. Most importantly, he impacted the lives of our student-athletes and that will have a lasting effect."

Florida Atlantic has never had a full-time head coach with a winning record for his career. Legendary coach Howard Schnellenberger, who jump-started the program, went 58-74 over 11 seasons. Carl Pelini, who was fired in his second season for off-field issues, went 5-14.

The Owls have not played in a bowl game since winning the New Orleans Bowl and Motor City Bowl back-to-back in 2007 and 2008 under Schnellenberger. The 2007 season was FAU's best as the Owls went 8-5 (6-1 Sun Belt) with conference player of the year Rusty Smith leading the team.

Though FAU has lacked success, it has always been viewed as an up-and-coming program located in a fertile recruiting ground -- Boca Raton, Florida, is in Palm Beach County with Broward and Miami-Dade just south of it -- with new facilities and increasing fan support. It should be a coveted position for a number of assistants nationally.

FAU is the second South Florida school to fire a coach this offseason as FIU rid itself of Ron Turner and hired former Miami coach Butch Davis earlier this month. The teams are local rivals.

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