Pelini out as Nebraska head football coach

University of Nebraska-Lincoln athletic director Shawn Eichorst addresses media after announcing coach Bo Pelini has been fired. (Photo by Grant Gerlock, NET News)
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November 30, 2014 - 4:17pm

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is looking for a new head football coach. Coach Bo Pelini has been fired after 7 tumultuous years leading the program.

Pelini leaves Nebraska after winning 71 percent of his games. The team won at least 9 games in each season he was head coach, but was never able to win a conference championship in either the Big 10 Conference, or previously the Big 12.

This year, UNL reached the 9-win mark again, after an overtime victory against the University of Iowa on Friday. But at a press conference Sunday afternoon, athletic director Shawn Eichorst said, across Pelini’s tenure, there weren’t enough wins in the big games.

Bo Pelini leaves Nebraska with a record of 67-27, but no conference titles. (Photo by Grant Gerlock, NET News)

"I didn't see enough improvement in areas that were important for us to move forward to play championship caliber football," Eichorst said. "We just, for whatever reason, weren't good enough in the games that mattered against championship quality caliber opponents. And I didn't see that changing."

Nebraska's three losses this year include a 59-24 blowout against Wisconsin. When asked whether the quality of the losses impacted his decision, Eichorst said it "certainly was a factor."

Eichorst said he met with Pelini Sunday morning to tell him about the decision. Players were notified by e-mail because many were off campus over the holiday weekend. 

Firing Pelini comes with a significant cost. Eichorst said the university will have to pay around 7.9 million dollars to buy out Pelini’s contract, and will also owe money to the assistant coaches. But, he said, the price tag would fall if they find other coaching jobs.

"And I imagine they'll either find employment here or elsewhere in the short term," Eichorst said.

The money will be paid monthly from funds in the "operational reserves of the department," he said.

Offensive line and associate head coach Barney Cotton will serve as interim head coach through Nebraska’s upcoming bowl game.

Eichorst would not give details on who he wants to be the school’s next head football coach or what qualities he is looking for. He also wouldn’t set a timetable but said he plans to lead the search process himself.



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