CHICAGO (TNS) — Leave it to Bo Pelini to stage the mother of all bridge burnings.
Two days after getting fired Nov. 30, Pelini met with Nebraska players at a local high school and ripped athletic director Shawn Eichorst, using two vulgar words to describe him.
In an audio recording obtained and transcribed by the Omaha World-Herald, Pelini insisted Eichorst “was never going to support us” and didn’t even want the Cornhuskers to beat Iowa in their regular-season finale.
“I could see it in the athletic director’s face and the other guy’s face,” Pelini told his players. “They were pissed. They didn’t want us to win that game. And that’s weird. That’s strange. But it is what it is.”
The university responded with a strong statement, saying Pelini’s remarks “only reaffirm the decision that he should no longer be a leader of young men at Nebraska.”
“His habitual use of inappropriate language and his personal and professional attacks on administrators are antithetical to the values of our university,” the statement said. “His behavior is consistent with a pattern of unprofessional, disrespectful behavior toward the passionate fans of Nebraska, employees of the university and, most concerning, our student-athletes.
“Any assertions that the administration was not supportive of our football program are flat-out false and are contradicted by the facts. We are grateful that the new leadership in our football program is aligned with our values and will establish that you can be successful at Nebraska and that you can do it with integrity and class.”
And to think, Wednesday had been a joyous day for Pelini, who assumed coaching duties at Youngstown State, the respected FCS program located miles from where he was raised.
“This is an exciting time for my family and me,” he said.
Exciting indeed. Pelini, 47, doesn’t do low-key.
Last season at Nebraska, an audiotape was made public containing a profanity-laced tirade from 2011 in which Pelini blasted local media and “fair-weather fans,” saying they “can all kiss my ass on the way out the (expletive) door.”
And during an ugly late-season loss to Iowa, Pelini nearly struck an official in the face with his ballcap.
Eichorst retained him anyway — but then sent him packing after the Huskers went 9-3 this season, allowing Melvin Gordon to rush for 408 yards in a hideous loss to Wisconsin. Nebraska hired former Oregon State coach Mike Riley on Dec. 4.
In slamming Eichorst to Huskers players Dec. 2, Pelini said he essentially dared the AD to fire him by telling two members of the board of trustees: “If he doesn’t have the (stones) to ... support me, support these kids, support this program, then do me a favor and get rid of me.”
According to the audiotape, Pelini said he confronted Eichorst and told him: “You don’t spend any time with us. Our players don’t even know who you are. That isn’t leadership.”