The University of Nebraska fired head football coach Bo Pelini on Sunday, Nov. 30. Pelini concludes his seven-year stint with the Cornhuskers with a 67-27 win-loss record.
The University of Nebraska fired head football coach Bo Pelini on Nov. 30.
Nebraska athletics director Shawn Eichorst told Nebraska.TV on Sunday that his decision to dismiss Pelini, which was also based on academics and leadership, 'crystallized' on Saturday evening:
"Husker coach Bo Pelini has been fired by Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst, (who) said the dismissal is effective immediately.
"During a Sunday afternoon press conference, Eichorst said his decision to fire Pelini 'crystallized' Saturday night. He then informed Chancellor Harvey Perlman of his intentions.
"'I notified coach this morning,' said Eichorst. 'The test had been taken, so it was time for me to sit down, reflect, and be comprehensive and inclusive in my review. At the end of the day, didn't see enough improvement in areas that were important for us to move forward to play championship-caliber football. 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.'
"But, the athtletic director said the firing was not based solely on wins and losses. He said academics and leadership were also factors.
"'It was the totality of my review over the last couple of years. As I've described to you guys, my process is pretty strategic, it's pretty disciplined,' said Eichorst.
"The Huskers won their ninth game of the season Friday at Iowa. Only Alabama and Oregon can match the Huskers' streak of winning at least that many games every season since 2008.
"But, Eichorst did show his disappointment with Nebraska's lack of hardward: 'Pursuing championships is what we do.'
"Husker Assistant Coach Barney Cotton will serve as interim head coach until a replacement is found.
"'What I would say is we had a lot of uncertainty a couple of days ago. So there was as much uncertainty in our program and where we were going as there probably is now,' said Eichorst. 'So hopefully folks have faith in me to do the right thing.'
"Eichorst said he wouldn't elaborate on the process of a coach search or if there were prospcects. He did say that he will be heading the search without an outside consultant.
"Eichorst said it would cost about $7.9 million to pay out Pelini's contract. That will be paid over months from the university's operational reserves. Payouts for assistant coaches range around $4 million. Eichorst said assistants have a year in (their) contract and have been asked to stay on until new leadership is picked."
Nebraska.TV's Connie Weight interviewed serveral Huskers fans in the aftermath of Pelini's dismissal to get their take on the matter:
"Husker fans gathered at Kearney bars like Jersey's and Cunningham's Journal had mixed reaction to the firing of Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini.
"'I'm a little disappointed. I don't think he was doing that bad of a job. I think we may be in for a bad surprise,' said Pat Lewandowski of Mason City.
"'I'm glad he's gone. I never thought he was a head coach. I think he's a wonderful defensive coordinator, but I never thought he'd be a really good head coach,' said Glen Long of Elm Creek.
"'I'm sad to see him go. He had fire and cared a lot about the players, but we have to please everyone and he hasn't been able to do that,' said Brad Dillard of Lexington.
"'I think we should have (given) him a longer time. He was fine. He won nine games. How many people get fired after winning nine games?' said Steve Watson of Kearney.
"'I guess I'm in favor of the decision with the lack of physical football play and we've continued to make the same mistakes for a number of years,' said Thayne Moore of Kearney.
"'I think it's wrong. I think we're never to find a good coach at Nebraska because our expectations are way too high,' said Jesse Johnson of Upland."
According to ESPN's Mitch Sherman, Pelini is still owed $7.65 million by Nebraska, which extended his contract last season through Feb. 2019. His assistants are still signed through Jan. 2016.
Pelini concludes his stint as Huskers head football coach with a 67-27 (.713) win-loss record. Sherman points out no head coach of a Power 5 football program "had been fired for on-field performance after winning as many games in his first seven years." Sherman goes on to say "only (the) Alabama (Crimson Tide) and Oregon (Ducks) -- first and second this week in the College Football Playoff rankings -- can match the Huskers in winning nine games each year since 2008."
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