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Carl Pelini denies illegal drug use; seeks reinstatement
Former Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini has denied using illegal drugs and is seeking reinstatement.
Pelini told ESPN in a statement Thursday that he told FAU athletic director Pat Chun on Oct. 30 that he did not use illegal drugs.
According to Pelini, Chun told him that it was “irrelevant” because he was “being relieved” of his duties “for failure to supervise my staff.”
Pelini indicated Chun told him at least one staff member admitted using drugs in the coach’s presence, but Pelini denied knowledge that “any staff member was using illegal drugs.”
Pelini and defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis resigned last week. On Oct. 30, Chun told reporters both coaches admitted to using “illegal drugs,” which was in violation of their contracts. The former Owls coach says he offered to take a drug test.
Chun claims that Pelini initially agreed to take a drug test on Oct. 30 but that when informed it would be done immediately on site, Pelini then declined.
In the statement, Pelini said he “had recently become aware of a personal relationship between a staff member and a person close to the athletic department. The relationship, to my knowledge, did not involve illegal drug use or any other illegal activity.”
FAU defensive line coach Matt Edwards and Allison Stewart, who Chun called a “personal friend” of the coaches, both indicated in notarized affidavits that they observed Pelini smoking marijuana during a three-day coaches trip to Key West on Oct. 18-20.
Edwards stated he witnessed Pelini and Rekstis use cocaine within the past year. Stewart said in her affidavit that, on Oct. 20, she received a text message from Pelini admitting to drug use.
Chun also reiterated that Pelini “voluntarily resigned” and “refused to cooperate in the investigation.” Asked by ESPN about the possibility of Pelini’s reinstatement, Chun said “he resigned. I accepted his resignation.”
Pelini, hired in 2011 to replace Howard Schnellenberger was 5-15 as the Owls coach.
Photo: Chris O’Meara, AP