Neb's athletic director: Pelini will remain coach

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 30, 2013 at 9:13 pm •  Published: November 30, 2013
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Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is safe for now.

Athletic director Shawn Eichorst issued a statement Saturday expressing support for Pelini and his staff and quashing speculation that the sixth-year coach's job was in jeopardy following a disappointing regular season.

The Cornhuskers are 8-4, 5-3 in the Big Ten, after their 38-17 loss to Iowa on Friday. Pelini is 57-24 at Nebraska, but the school has not won a conference title since 1999.

The Huskers will learn their bowl destination next weekend. Eichorst, who is in his first full year as athletic director, until Saturday had adhered to his policy of not commenting about his coaches until after their seasons.

"However," he said in his statement, "given the volume of unfounded speculation and conjecture about our head football coach, I want to reaffirm what I have said many times since I have arrived at the University of Nebraska — that I positively respect, appreciate and support our football student-athletes, coaches and staff, as we do everyone in the Husker family.

"We very much look forward to our upcoming bowl game and Coach Pelini continuing to lead our program in the future."

A message seeking comment was left on Pelini's cell phone.

Pelini is under contract through the 2017 season and is paid almost $3 million a year. Pelini's contract is extended one year after each season he receives a positive job review from the athletic director.

Former athletic director Tom Osborne extended Pelini's contract last year just a few days after the 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. It wasn't known when Pelini's next job evaluation would be done. Eichorst was not available for comment beyond his statement.

Had Eichorst decided to fire Pelini now, the university would have owed Pelini more than $7.6 million, according to his contract.

Pelini on Friday did nothing to tamp down speculation that his job was on the line.

He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after nearly making contact with the head linesman with his cap while protesting a pass-interference penalty. He was terse at halftime with the ABC sideline reporter who asked him a question he didn't like. After the game, Pelini used an expletive to describe the pass-interference call and, while defending his record, said, "If they want to fire me, go ahead."

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