BOCA RATON, Fla. — Florida Atlantic has withdrawn Carl Pelini’s resignation as football coach and has fired him instead, saying they had cause to do so because he failed to report certain conduct of a member of his staff.
The letter, dated Tuesday and sent to Pelini’s home address by FAU Interim President Dennis Crudele, does not cite drug use as a reason for the firing.
Pelini resigned Oct. 30 after FAU athletic director Patrick Chun said he and former defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis acknowledged using illegal drugs. Pelini denied that claim, though a member of his FAU staff assisted the school’s investigation by writing an affidavit claiming to have personally witnessed him using marijuana and cocaine.
Pelini eventually asked that the resignation be withdrawn and got his wish, though did not get his job back.
“I recognize the importance to you of clarifying that you did not resign because you admitted to using illegal drugs, and that FAU did not terminate your employment because of a finding that you used illegal drugs,” Crudele wrote. “Accordingly, to clarify these significant points and to complete our discussions regarding your separation from employment at FAU, your resignation is withdrawn.”
Crudele also told Pelini that FAU believes its officials acted properly with the way they handled the circumstances surrounding the coach’s departure.
The move means the former coach will not be asked for a $500,000 repayment the school could have demanded because he resigned, though it was unclear if the Owls would have pursued that fee anyway. It also lauds Pelini for the work he did with the Owls.
FAU (5-6) is 3-0 since Pelini was replaced by interim coach Brian Wright, and could become bowl-eligible with a win in the regular-season finale against FIU.
Crudele wrote to Pelini that the Owls’ finish this season “is a direct reflection of your good work.”
Crudele’s letter also indicates that Pelini has waived his right to appeal the firing.