Florida Atlantic University’s head football coach Carl Pelini and defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis have resigned amid an investigation involving illegal drug use, the school’s director of athletics said Wednesday.
The two coaches were accused of using illegal drugs at an off-campus event recently, Director of Athletics Pat Chun said at a press conference at FAU Stadium.
Once people came forward, FAU had to look into it and began asking some questions, he said.
“Literally it all culminated today when I confronted Pete and Carl. And once I confronted them, like I said, they tendered their resignation,” Chun said.
The charges involving illegal drugs do not appear to be criminal and are considered a human resources issue by FAU, Chun said.
He said no other members of the football program and no student-athletes were involved. An investigation is ongoing.
Pelini had been FAU’s head football coach since December 2011. The Owls 2-6 so far this year, and went 5-15 under him overall.
“I apologize for exercising poor judgment. My greatest concerns at this time are for my family, the dedicated FAU players and my staff,” Pelini said in a statement. “I am confident that Pat Chun and the University administration will continue to move the program forward.”
Offensive coordinator Brian Wright has been named the interim coach, Chun said.
“I have a great amount of faith in Brian. He’s a good man, he’s been well mentored in this business, he works diligently on his craft," Chun said. "I think there’s a high upside with Brian as the coach. And like I said, without hesitation he accepted the mantle.”
Chun said the search for a permanent head coach has already begun.
Pelini came to South Florida from the University of Nebraska, where he had been the Cornhuskers’ defensive coordinator going back to 2008.
At FAU he succeeded the school’s first football coach, Howard Schnellenberger.
Rekstis had been the Owls' defensive coordinator since March 2012.
Chun said the university is working to help the football players process and grieve the loss of the two coaches from their team.
“I mean, let’s make no mistake. This was a head coach a lot of them looked up to, probably all of them looked to, a defensive coordinator who they all looked up to. This is tough,” Chun said. “Our job is about using sports to teach life lessons, and that’s what we talked about, that’s what I talked about today when I just left them.”
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