Every college football offseason has the tradition of coaching changes. Nebraska did not even wait for the offseason, as they fired Bo Pelini today after seven years as head coach.
Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst said he came to his decision Saturday night and met with Pelini for about 20 minutes Sunday morning. “I didn’t see enough in areas that were important for us to move forward and play championship-caliber football,” Eichorst said.
Pelini had his contract extended through 2019 when Nebraska became part of the Big Ten conference three years ago and is owed nearly $7.6 million in his contract buyout. The entire assistant coaching staff is under contract through the 2016 season.
Pelini won 71% of his games at Nebraska, which would be good enough for most coaches to keep their jobs, but he was 9-16 against Top 25 opponents during that time and was just 2-8 in his last 10 games against ranked teams. Since joining the Big Ten for the start of the 2011 season, the Nebraska defense, once the pride of the program, has given up at least 45 points in six conference games and lost by 20 or more points 10 times. Ironically, Pelini has won more games in his first seven years as head coach than the legendary Tom Osborne, the former Nebraska coach by whom all other Cornhuskers are judged. Nebraska has won at least nine games in every year under Pelini.
Eichorst said he, and he alone, will conduct the search for the next head coach and he gave no timetable today as to how long he expected the search to take. A name likely to be near the top of the list is Scott Frost, who is currently the offensive coordinator at Oregon. Frost has a Nebraska pedigree, having played quarterback for the Cornhuskers under Osborne. He also would have the cache of pulling the strings on one of the more high-powered offenses in the country with the Ducks. Local reports indicate that Eichorst could also look for a return to the bruising running game of Nebraska lore and is interested in talking with Minnesota’s Jerry Kill and Wyoming’s Craig Bohl. Kill led Minnesota to an 8-4 season this year, including a win over Nebraska last week. Bohl, a former defensive back under Osborne, won three FCS titles at North Dakota State before assuming the reins at Wyoming this season and going 4-8.
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