Watch CBS News

FAU Head Coach Quits Over Alleged Illegal Drug Use

BOCA RATON (CBSMiami) – A bizarre situation has unfolded in Boca Raton at the Florida Atlantic University athletics department.

Head football coach Carl Pelini and defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis both admitted to athletic director Florida Atlantic University athletic director Pat Chun what is described as illegal drug use.

Later Wednesday, FAU held a press conference to say that both Pelini and Rekstis have tendered their resignations effective immediately and both coaches were escorted off the premises by police.

Neither coach was arrested, handcuffed, or taken into custody by police, according to the Associated Press. The Sun-Sentinel reported the matter is "an HR matter" and no police are involved.

According to ESPN's Brett McMurphy, Pelini and Rekstis "attended a social event where pot was used & agreed to resign."

The Sun-Sentinel's Dieter Kurtenbach reported that FAU Athletic Director Pat Chun found out about the incident on Monday and reported it to the school's general council.

Pelini had a statement saying, "I apologize for exercising poor judgment. My greatest concerns at this time are for my family, the dedicated FAU players and my staff. I am confident that Pat Chun and the University administration will continue to move the program forward."

Pelini has only been at the school a little more than one and a half seasons and compiled a record of 5-15 as of last Saturday. Pelini's brother Bo is the head coach at the University of Nebraska and Carl was the defensive coordinator for the Cornhuskers before coming to FAU.

Owls offensive coordinator Brian Wright will take over as the interim head coach. The Sun-Sentinel reported that eight other assistant coaches will stay on with the school as well.

On the defensive side of the ball, FAU linebackers coach Jevan Dewitt will take over as the new defensive coordinator.

FAU said the search to find a replacement for Pelini is already underway.

FAU's Chun released a statement that read:

"It is with profound disappointment and sadness that I announce the resignation of Florida Atlantic University Head Football Coach Carl Pelini and Defensive Coordinator Pete Rekstis. They tendered their resignations to me late this morning after I confronted both coaches with reports relating to their use of illegal drugs.

"On Monday, I was made aware of these concerns and I immediately reported the allegations to our General Counsel. The University acted quickly and decisively to follow up and take action that is in the best interests of our student-athletes and the University overall. I can assure you that we have no information that suggests anyone other than these two individuals engaged in these activities.

"I am personally very saddened for our student-athletes, coaches and staff. I just met with the players a few moments ago and notified them of the news. As you could imagine, the reaction was shock, dismay and disbelief. What I do know is that the FAU football team is a resilient group of young men and they will work through this, and learn and grow from this experience. It is a heartbreaking day for us all.

"I'd like to emphasize that nothing takes a higher priority than the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes. We will work to ensure that any student-athletes' questions and concerns are addressed. And let me reiterate, we have no information indicating any student-athletes were involved in any illegal activities.

"Offensive Coordinator Brian Wright will serve as interim head coach, effective immediately. I have great confidence in his abilities to lead this football program. When I asked Brian to take this role he accepted it without hesitation. He is surrounded by eight assistant coaches that are 100 percent committed to our program and student-athletes."


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.