BOCA RATON (CBSMiami) – The strange tale of the dismissal of Florida Atlantic University head football coach Carl Pelini last month took another turn Tuesday afternoon.
Pelini and defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis resigned on October 30. FAU athletic director Patrick Chun said at the time that both Pelini and Rekstis admitted to using “illegal drugs.” In early November, Pelini denied using illegal drugs and said he was forced to resign.
Now, according to a new ESPN.com report, FAU’s president said Pelini lost his job because of a failure to report the conduct of a staff member.
“FAU did not terminate your employment because of a finding that you used illegal drugs,” FAU interim president Dennis J. Crudele wrote in the letter obtained by ESPN. “Accordingly to clarify these significant points … your resignation is withdrawn and your separation is converted to a termination with cause based on our finding that you failed to timely report certain conduct of a member of your staff, as required by your contract.”
In the days after Pelini’s resignation was announced, school officials released sworn affidavits from two people — including FAU assistant coach Matt Edwards — alleging drug use.
Edwards wrote that he witnessed Pelini smoking marijuana in Key West on Oct. 19, the Saturday of an off week for the Owls. Another person, Allison Stewart, also said she got a text message from Pelini where he admitted drug use.
Pelini said that when he was confronted by Chun, he told him that Edwards and Stewart “had strong motive to have me removed” from his job. He has not specified what he believes those motives to be.
Pelini had a base annual salary of $472,500, according to FAU’s most recently released payroll data. Rekstis was making $145,000.
Since FAU fired Pelini, the Owls have gone 3-0 under interim head coach Brian Wright. If FAU knocks out FIU on Friday, the Owls will become bowl eligible with a 6-6 record.