Bo Pelini: Amazing Facts About Nebraska Cornhuskers Former Coach

Former player and coach of American football, Bo Pelini. He most recently served as the Louisiana State University Tigers football team’s defensive coordinator. Carl Pelini, a former head coach at Florida Atlantic who has regularly served as Bo’s assistant coach, is his younger brother.

From December 2007 until November 2014, Bo Pelini led the Nebraska Cornhuskers as their head coach. From 2015 to 2019, he led the football team at Youngstown State University. Bo Pelini was the defensive coordinator for the LSU Tigers, Oklahoma Sooners, and Nebraska Cornhuskers before becoming the head of the football program at Nebraska.

Bo Pelini

Table of Contents

Early Life

On December 13, 1967, Bo Pelini was born in Youngstown, Ohio. One day after guiding Louisiana State University in the 2007 SEC Championship Game, Bo Pelini, a football coach, was chosen head coach at the University of Nebraska in 2008. In his first three seasons at Nebraska, he won three straight Big 12 North Division championships.

Bo Pelini and Tom Osborne were both in charge of the football squad for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers. He was a free safety for the Buckeyes of Ohio State University.

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Bo Pelini was born in Youngstown, Ohio, on December 13, 1967, and is one of the most famous people to have been born in that state. He is among the wealthiest football coaches.

Playing Career

Bo Pelini was born and reared in Youngstown, Ohio, a former steel production hub with a long history of competitive sports. Bo Scott, a former running back for the Cleveland Browns, inspired his moniker “Bo.”  He attended Youngstown Cardinal Mooney High School, where Bob Stoops, the former head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners, also attended high school.

From 1987 to 1990, he played free safety for the Buckeyes at Ohio State University under the direction of Earle Bruce and John Cooper, both of whom are members of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Along with Vinnie Clark, Jeff Graham, and Greg Frey, Pelini started in his final two seasons and was a team co-captain in his senior season. In December 1990, he graduated from Ohio State College of Business with a Bachelor of Science in business administration.

Coaching Career

Following his playing career, Pelini started working as a graduate assistant for the Iowa Hawkeyes under Hayden Fry in 1991 at the University of Iowa. He also finished his master’s program in sports management at Ohio University in 1992 during this time. He worked as the quarterback’s coach at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown for one year in 1993. Following the season, Pelini worked for a short time as the linebackers coach for the Arena Football League’s Detroit Drive.

Bo Pelini’s first job in the National Football League came in 1994 when George Seifert, the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, hired him as a scouting assistant. He received another promotion to defensive backs coach in the spring of 1994 after being swiftly elevated to assistant secondary coach. In 1995, while still in his new position, he coached in his first Super Bowl, in which the San Francisco 49ers won 49–26 over the San Diego Chargers.

Pete Carroll, the head coach of the New England Patriots, rehired Pelini as the defensive backs coach in 1997. During his three years there, Pelini helped the Patriots make the playoffs twice.

Bo Pelini joined the Green Bay Packers in 2000 as linebackers coach for head coach Mike Sherman. In Pelini’s three years as linebackers coach at Green Bay, the team had a 33-15 record and twice made the playoffs.

In 2003, Pelini rejoined the college ranks as head coach Frank Solich appointed him as the defensive coordinator for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The 2002 season, the year before he was hired, saw the Cornhuskers’ defense finish 55th in the country. It improved to 11th place and had the highest turnover margin in the nation in its first year.

Despite having a 9-3 record at the end of the regular season, Solich was let go by Steve Pederson, the new athletic director at Nebraska. In the 2003 Alamo Bowl, Pelini was appointed interim head coach and guided the Cornhuskers to a 17-3 victory over the Michigan State Spartans.

Bill Callahan, who most recently served as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, was chosen by Pederson after Bill Pelini had an interview for the head coaching position at Nebraska. The defense of Nebraska dropped to 56th place nationally the following year.

To help the Oklahoma Sooners win the 2004 Big 12 Championship Game and a spot in the 2005 BCS National Championship Game, where they lost to the USC Trojans 55-19, Pelini joined the team in 2004 as co-defensive coordinator under head coach Bob Stoops. The Sooners finished 6th nationally in terms of rushing defense and 11th nationally in terms of scoring defense under Pelini’s leadership.

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Les Miles, the head coach of the LSU Tigers, rehired Pelini as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2005. His success persisted as LSU finished each of his three years as a Tiger in third place nationally in overall defense. The LSU Tigers finished the 2007 regular season by defeating the Tennessee Volunteers 21-14 in the SEC Championship Game. They then defeated Pelini’s old mater, the Ohio State Buckeyes, 38-24 in the 2008 BCS National Championship Game.

Harvey Perlman, the chancellor of Nebraska, removed Steve Pederson as athletic director during the 2007 football season and replaced him with former Cornhuskers head coach Tom Osborne as interim athletic director. Bill Callahan was sacked by Osborne one day after the Cornhuskers’ final game of the year, a 65-51 loss to the Colorado Buffaloes that left them with 5 wins and 7 losses.

Bo Pelini

Osborne also declared that a replacement football coach would be sought right once. After a nine-day search, Bo Pelini was chosen to serve as the new head coach. Among the five interviewees, two identities were made public: Wake Forest Demon Deacons head coach Jim Grobe and Buffalo head coach Turner Gill.

Shawn Eichorst, the director of athletics at Nebraska, sacked Pelini on November 30, 2014, immediately following the end of the regular season. Following his dismissal, the University is obligated to pay Pelini $7.65 million in salary in 51 monthly payments of $150,000 each. Pelini will receive about $7.9 million in total liquidation.

Youngstown State appointed Pelini as their new head coach in December 2014. After finishing 5-6 in 2015, the Penguins improved to 12-4 in 2016, falling to James Madison University 28-14 in the FCS Championship game. Pelini would lead the Penguins to records of 6-5, 4-7, and 6-6 over the course of the following three seasons.

During his five years at Youngstown State, Pelini had a 33-28 overall record and one playoff trip through his final season in 2019.

Dave Aranda was replaced as LSU’s defensive coordinator on January 27, 2020, by Pelini. His defense allowed Miss State a one-game SEC passing yard record in his first game back as LSU’s defensive coordinator. The defense only allowed a touchdown to Vanderbilt the following week, though.

The following week, in just his third game back as LSU’s defensive coordinator, his team lost to Missouri 45 to 41 after giving up 586 total yards and 45 points. The LSU defense allowed a school-record 96 points in his first three games back in charge of the defense. The post of Pelini was terminated on December 21, 2020.


A two-year-old audio tape with a vulgar outburst by Pelini was anonymously leaked to Deadspin following a home defeat to UCLA on September 14, 2013, and shortly after Pelini responded to criticism from former Nebraska football player Tommie Frazier regarding the loss. While it was claimed that several students fled when Nebraska was down 27-6 early in the third quarter of its comeback victory over Ohio State in 2011, the recording was made after the game. Huskers victory, 34–27.

According to Deadspin, Pelini said a number of things on the audio tape, including: “Our crowd. What a bunch of fucking fair-weather fucking—they can all kiss my ass out the fucking door. ‘Cause, the day is fucking coming now. We’ll see what they can do when I’m fucking gone. I’m so fucking pissed off.”

Bo Pelini apologized shortly after the tape was made public: “I take full responsibility for these comments. They were spoken in a private room following the Ohio State game. I was venting following a series of emotional events which led to this moment. That being said, these comments are in no way indicative of my true feelings. I love it here in Nebraska and feel fortunate to be associated with such a great University and fan base. I again apologize to anyone whom I have offended.”

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor Harvey Perlman announced after the audio tape’s release that the school will think about its options before deciding to put the incident behind them.

Former Nebraska coach and athletic director Tom Osborne subsequently revealed that he had heard the recording in 2012—roughly a year earlier—and had spoken to Pelini about it, but had not informed Perlman.

Some commentators and members of the media thought Pelini would struggle to earn back the support of the fans. Bo Pelini thought he had accumulated enough “points” to win the supporters’ at least partial pardon for his comments.

On-field Conduct

In the fourth quarter of the game on November 14, 2015, against the North Dakota State Bison, Bo Pelini got into numerous tense disputes with the referees over penalties they had called, including two for unsportsmanlike behavior against Pelini. The Missouri Valley Football Conference censured him for his actions on the field.

Bo Pelini Net Worth

According to reliable sources, as of the information provided in the middle of 2017, the total amount of his wealth may be as high as $15 million. He is currently said to make $3 million a year, with football serving as the main driver of Bo Pelini’s wealth.

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