Monday, December 3, 2007

Pelini Accepts Nebraska Head Coaching Job

LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini accepted the head coaching position at Nebraska on Sunday, ending his three-year tenure with LSU.

LSU coach Les Miles said late Sunday evening that Pelini will likely join the Tigers in the BCS National Championship game Jan 7.

"I think he will coach the game," Miles said. "We talked about it on the plane ride [from Atlanta]. The thing about a new job is that there is a lot to do, but there is also a lot of downtime in there during a dead-period when you can not recruit."

Miles said NCAA rules say coaches can not contact recruits from the middle of December until early January, so Pelini will be able to prepare with LSU during that time.

Tom Osborne, Nebraska interim Athletic Director, announced the hiring Sunday afternoon in Lincoln, Neb., ending a week-long search that began when the Cornhuskers announced Nov. 24 that former coach Bill Callahan would not be returning next season.

"We need a head coach with strong defensive credentials and great leadership," Osborne said in a statement. "We were also looking for someone who can inspire confidence and get players to play with great effort."

Pelini served as the Cornhuskers defensive coordinator during the 2003 season and was the team's interim coach for the team's bowl game that season following former coach Frank Solich's departure.

During his time at LSU, Pelini helped the Tigers' defense become one of the nation's more feared units, holding opponents to less than 14 points in 18 of Pelini's 39 games on the sidelines for the Tigers.

Pelini met the Nebraska players early Sunday to announce he will be their coach next season.

"It was a short meeting and hopefully one that was very productive to let them know that I am not here to be just a head coach and a dictator," Pelini said. "I am here to serve a number of roles, and one of those roles is to make sure the players have a very positive experience as a student-athlete at Nebraska.

Pelini also has NFL coaching experience. He was an assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers from 1994 to 2002.

The 39-year-old Youngstown, Ohio native said he is ready to finally have a chance to be a head coach, following more than 15 seasons as an assistant coach.

"This is something I have worked a long time for," Pelini said. "You never know if [you'll be hired or not]. I've never really been consumed with the chance of becoming a head coach. I always figured that, God willing, it would happen someday if I kept just doing my job."

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