Bo Pelini Fired by Nebraska: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2014

Bruce Thorson/USA Today

Bo Pelini has been dismissed by Nebraska, the team announced Sunday morning. 

Nebraska Huskers @Huskers

Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst has dismissed Head Football Coach Bo Pelini effective immediately. Press conference 1pm.

Nebraska Huskers @Huskers

We wish Coach Pelini and his wonderful family all the best and thank him for his dedicated service to the University. - Eichorst

The 46-year-old had served as the football program's head coach since 2008 and was previously the defensive coordinator and interim head coach in 2003.

The Cornhuskers (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten) are fresh off a 37-34 overtime win against Iowa on Friday, but that wasn't enough to save Pelini his job.

Pelini's firing came as a major surprise to many, given how well Nebraska's performed during his tenure. Grantland's Bill Barnwell wondered how many coaches as successful as Pelini have been let go without giving rise to a cloud of controversy:

Bill Barnwell @billbarnwell

Has anyone been fired for football reasons with a better winning percentage than Bo Pelini (67-27)?

According to the Omaha World-Herald's Dirk Chatelain, Pelini's the first major-conference coach in five decades to have lost his job despite winning at least eight games in each of his seasons:

Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee quickly weighed in with five potential candidates to become Nebraska's next head coach:

Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. and four-star recruit Liam Eichenberg reacted to the announcement on Twitter:

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Tommy Armstrong Jr. @Tommy_Gun4

Biggest mistake you ever made.... Bo was the best coach I've ever had and I'll always appreciate the things you taught me.

Pelini's less-than-pleasant demeanor could've possibly played a role in his departure.

He's famous for his sideline tirades, and he came under fire last year after Deadspin's Dom Cosentino (Note: Link NSFW) unearthed an audiotape from 2011, following a Cornhuskers come-from-behind victory over Ohio State in which they battled back from three touchdowns down. Pelini could be heard going on an expletive-laden rant against the fans and Chatelain.

Nebraska released two statements condemning what Pelini had to say on Sept. 16, 2013, the day the tape was released.

The first, from chancellor Harvey Perlman, read, "I am aware of the publication of Coach Pelini's comments. I am disappointed and in discussions with Shawn Eichorst about addressing the issue."

Eichorst, the director of athletics, added:

I am disheartened and disappointed by the 2011 comments published today attributed to Coach Pelini about our dedicated and passionate fans and supporters. I have spoken with Chancellor Perlman and I have addressed the situation with Bo and expressed our deep concern.

Pelini apologized for the situation, per Brian Rosenthal of the Lincoln Journal Star:

Pelini also caused a stir over his sometimes abrasive handling of players during games, best exemplified by his chastisement of quarterback Taylor Martinez in 2010:

With that said, Pelini never brought the program disrepute as a result of scandal, and he's far from the only coach to be a little tough on his players.

Since Pelini took over in 2008, Nebraska has never won fewer than nine games, finishing no better than 10-4 and no worse than 9-4. The school won the Gator Bowl over Clemson to cap off the 2008 season, the Holiday Bowl versus Arizona in 2009 and the Gator Bowl over Georgia in 2013.

By that same token, the Cornhuskers had never won the Big Ten nor qualified for a BCS bowl:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Nebraska was 8-17 vs AP-ranked teams under Bo Pelini, including 3-9 on road. 0 BCS Bowl wins and 0 Conference championships with him.

Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com thinks that Pelini's firing isn't entirely dissimilar to Frank Solich's, but Solich had at least gotten the Cornhuskers on the brink of a national championship:

Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel believes that Nebraska should aim much higher than a 10-win season and an unheralded bowl win:

Stewart Mandel @slmandel

It didn't start with Pelini, but given Nebraska's history, unacceptable the program has not won a conference title since 1999.

It will be interesting to see whom the Cornhuskers attract in terms of potential successors. They've fallen off somewhat, going from a perennial powerhouse to an above-average program living off past success.

Michigan and Notre Dame are examples of how much worse things can get for former dynasties.

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