“Coach Partridge embodies the characteristics and qualities we profiled for our head football coach," FAU athletic director Pat Chun said in the school's release. "First and foremost he is an extraordinary leader. His integrity, commitment to student-athlete wellness and development, family values and passion make him the ideal person to lead our football program."
Partridge was on staff with Bret Bielema for the past six seasons. He spent five years at Wisconsin and joined Bielema in Arkansas for the team's 3-9 finish this year. With the Razorbacks, he was defensive line coach and assistant head coach. He also spent time at Pittsburgh, Eastern Illinois, Iowa State and Drake.
Partridge is a native of South Florida, and FAU hopes he will be able to use his local ties to bring in quality players. During his press conference, Partridge thanked multiple Florida high school coaches by name. The school also hopes Partridge will continue to establish some sort of defensive presence, something that was started under Pelini. The Owls finished 37th in Defensive S&P this year, according to Football Outsiders.
Chun initially said Pelini's resignation was over "illegal drug use," but the school later clarified that the cause was failure to supervise his staff. Interim coach Brian Wright was 4-0 with Florida Atlantic and got the Owls to bowl eligibility. The team was one of nine eligible teams shut out of a bowl game, though.