FAU head coach Carl Pelini, defensive coordinator resign over "illegal drug use"
Florida Atlantic head coach Carl Pelini and defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis have resigned, effective immediately, the university announced on Wednesday. Offensive coordinator Brian Wright will take over as the Owls interim head coach.
The news was first reported by ESPN's Brett McMurphy.
At a press conference on Wednesday, FAU athletic director Pat Chun cited "illegal drug use" as the reason for both coaches' resignations. Chun found out about an incident on Monday and reported it to the school's general council. According to Chun, no other football staffers or student-athletes were involved.
Pelini and Rekstis were both escorted out of the team's football offices by police.
"I apologize for exercising poor judgment," Pelini said in a statement. "My greatest concerns at this time are for my family, the dedicated FAU players and my staff. I am confident that Pat Chun and the University administration will continue to move the program forward."
The school has already begun its search for a new head coach, Chun confirmed. Here is Chun's full statement on the matter:
It is with profound disappointment and sadness that I announce the resignation of Florida Atlantic University Head Football Coach Carl Pelini and Defensive Coordinator Pete Rekstis. They tendered their resignations to me late this morning after I confronted both coaches with reports relating to their use of illegal drugs.The Owls are currently 2-6 on the season with wins over South Florida (2-5) and UAB (2-5). Pelini was the second head coach in program history. He replaced Howard Schnellenberger after the 2011 campaign and went 5-15 during his stint on campus.
On Monday, I was made aware of these concerns and I immediately reported the allegations to our General Counsel. The University acted quickly and decisively to follow up and take action that is in the best interests of our student-athletes and the University overall. I can assure you that we have no information that suggests anyone other than these two individuals engaged in these activities.
I am personally very saddened for our student-athletes, coaches and staff. I just met with the players a few moments ago and notified them of the news. As you could imagine, the reaction was shock, dismay and disbelief. What I do know is that the FAU football team is a resilient group of young men and they will work through this, and learn and grow from this experience. It is a heartbreaking day for us all.
I'd like to emphasize that nothing takes a higher priority than the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes. We will work to ensure that any student-athletes' questions and concerns are addressed. And let me reiterate, we have no information indicating any student-athletes were involved in any illegal activities.
Offensive Coordinator Brian Wright will serve as interim head coach, effective immediately. I have great confidence in his abilities to lead this football program. When I asked Brian to take this role he accepted it without hesitation. He is surrounded by eight assistant coaches that are 100 percent committed to our program and student-athletes.