Former FAU Head Football Coach denies drug use and seeks reinstatement

Miranda Schumes

FAU athletic director Pat Chun announced Pelini's resignation at a press conference on Oct. 30. Photo by Miranda Schumes
FAU Athletic Director Pat Chun announced Pelini’s resignation at a press conference on Oct. 30. Photo by Miranda Schumes

On Thursday, former FAU Head Football Coach Carl Pelini told ESPN that he denies drug use and is seeking reinstatement.

 According to Pelini, his resignation was “forced” by FAU Athletic Director Patrick Chun on Oct. 30 after he “had recently become aware of a personal relationship between a staff member and a person close to the athletic department.” Pelini said that Chun had acknowledged that the “denial of illegal drug use was irrelevant because [Pelini] was being relieved of [his] duties for failure to supervise [his] staff.”

Both FAU Defensive Line Coach Matt Edwards and Allison Stewart, who Chun referred to as a “personal friend” of the coaches, claimed that they saw Pelini smoking marijuana during a coaches trip on Oct. 18-20 in Key West, Fla.

Stewart said in a notarized affidavit that Pelini admitted to drug use in a text message that she received on Oct. 20. Edwards included that he witnessed Pelini and Rekstis using cocaine within the past year.

At the time of Pelini’s resignation, Chun said that Pelini had initially agreed to taking a drug test, but declined after being told that it would be administered immediately.

Pelini said a university police officer took his phone and denied his request to contact legal counsel just before being “forced” to resign.  In addition, Pelini said that his contract required a written notice and a 30-day investigation period, neither of which were given.

Chun was unable to comment on the issue as FAU human resources department is still reviewing the situation. The athletic director reiterated to ESPN that Pelini “voluntarily resigned” and “refused to cooperate in the investigation.”

Pelini said that he never admitted to Chun that he had used illegal drugs as suggested during a press conference on Oct. 30.  During the press conference, Chun claimed that Pelini asked the athletic director to read a statement apologizing for his actions and “for exercising poor judgment.”

With just three games left in the season, Chun is already looking for a replacement head coach.  According to the Sun Sentinel, Chun flew to Columbus, Ohio on Nov. 5 to interview Ohio State Defensive Coordinator Luke Fickell. Chun knows Fickell after working at Ohio State for 15 years before accepting his position at FAU in 2012.