Commentary: Carl Pelini becomes the next FAU football coach


Char Pratt

“At his introductory press conference on Dec. 5, Carl Pelini promised changes. “Everybody has their opinions and ideas,” he said. “But ultimately I’m going to start from scratch and evaluate every aspect of the program.” Pelini plans to switch his team’s defensive from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 in an effort to get more pressure on the opposing quarterback. Photo by Charles Pratt.

Ryan Cortes

“As I looked at a lot of potential jobs over the last few years," Pelini said. "I decided that this was one that offered everything I needed to be successful at this level, and the one that was a sleeping giant.” Photo by Charles Pratt.

Standing at the podium with a brown suit and a blue tie, the next head coach of FAU football began listing his accomplishments.

It was something he felt he had to do. From start to finish, he ran through his coaching career. High school head coach. High school athletic director. College graduate assistant. Defensive coordinator. His oral résumé included no college head coaching experience.

“It is not uncommon for athletic directors to simply look at head coaches and former head coaches, because you know exactly what you’re getting,” Carl Pelini said, taking a glance to his right, where Athletic Director Craig Angelos stood. “It takes a visionary to look at a guy like me. I’m very much indebted to Craig, and like he said, we’re now attached at the hip.”

When Pelini was done with his speech, Angelos walked over to his newest hire and extended his hand.

“Thank you, Bo,” Angelos said before handing him an FAU cap. “We just wanted to make sure we introduce you the right way.”

And just like that, Carl Pelini was introduced the wrong way.

His brother Bo Pelini, the head coach at Nebraska, will always be the more famous Pelini. “When I first heard [about the Pelini hiring], I was like ‘Who is this guy? Carl Pelini?’” said fullback Xavier Stinson. It’s something he’ll have to get used to though. Between being tucked in the shadows of his brother, and trying to follow a legendary last name like Schnellenberger, the 46-year-old Pelini will be forced to make not just his first name, but his program matter.

“Everybody has their opinions and ideas, but ultimately I’m going to start from scratch and evaluate every aspect of the program,” he said. “I told the players yesterday, That’s the last time we’re gonna mention 1-11. From this point forward, it’s a new program and a new vision.”

Carl Pelini is the 2nd head coach in the history of FAU football. Prior to signing his contract in Boca, Pelini was the defensive coordinator at Nebraska. Photo by Charles Pratt.
It’s a vision that many bought into.

“We started this process about two to three months ago,” Angelos said. “We tried to seek the very best candidate we could come up with. I think we found that person today. No, I know we found that person today.”

“We’re impressed by his accomplishments at Nebraska,” President Mary Jane Saunders said. “In one year he took the defense from 112th nationally to the 7th spot. There’s no doubt he’s adept at the art of turnaround.”

“The groundwork’s been laid,” said Student Body President Ayden Maher. “We just need someone who wants to come in here and kick some butt.”

Fittingly, Pelini mentioned that immediately following his introduction, he’d be in his office. Forty-eight hours after that, he said, he’d be at South Florida high schools, making his pitch.

“I’ve prepared my entire life for this moment,” Pelini said. “I just want to promise everyone in this room that I’m up to the task.”

Good luck, Bo.

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