Nebraska vs. Iowa, 11.28.14 (copy)

The final words from Bo Pelini to Husker players before he left are out in the open, and they were brutally profane about the man who fired him, Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst.

The Journal Star obtained a transcript of Pelini's talk, which took place at Lincoln North Star High School on Dec. 2, and was full of love for players but also included multiple vulgarities by the former Husker coach when talking about Eichorst.

"I didn't have any relationship with the AD, the guy, you saw him, the guy's a total p---y, I mean, he is. He's a total c---," Pelini told the team. "And since I've been here — he's been here for about two years — I've probably had a conversation with the guy a couple times. You saw him. He's never been in the locker room."

A person who was in the room during the talk had read the transcript and was strong in confirming to the Journal Star that it was accurate.

The University of Nebraska issued a biting statement in response to the words Pelini is believed to have said, saying it only "reaffirms the decision that he should no longer be a leader of young men at Nebraska."

During the meeting, Pelini told the team it was no surprise to him that he was fired, before going on a blistering critique of Eichorst.

"At the end of the day, he just, he was never going to support us. And he didn't support us. And you saw it. He was never going to come out in the paper and support. And fellas, I gotta tell you, at the end of the day, in the last, you know, when you are in my position, you guys know what it's like, you guys go through it and I go through it about 50 times over — the scrutiny, the taking shots at you, and everything else. When you aren't getting support from your boss, it can be stressful. It was stressful for me, it was stressful on my family.

"And Kaz (D-line coach Rick Kaczenski) is here, I said to Kaz at one point, this job is killing me. I don't want to die doing this job. I don't want to have a heart attack on this job."

Pelini's final message to the team went public the same day he was announced as head coach at Youngstown State.

Chris Anderson, director of communications for Nebraska, sent out the statement in response to the Pelini comments.

"The University of Nebraska is in receipt of what appears to be a transcript of remarks delivered by former football coach Bo Pelini," it read.

"These remarks to student-athletes were allegedly made during a non-official team meeting at a local high school, held two days after his termination. At this time, the university cannot authenticate the transcript nor do we have an audio version of the remarks.

"If these comments were, indeed, spoken by Mr. Pelini, we are extremely disappointed, but it only reaffirms 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.

"His behavior is consistent with a pattern of unprofessional, disrespectful behavior directed by Mr. Pelini toward the passionate fans of Nebraska, employees of the university and, most concerning, our student-athletes. This behavior is not tolerated at the University of Nebraska and, among many other concerns, played a role in his dismissal.

"Any assertions that the campus or athletics administration was not supportive of our student-athletes and 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."

During his meeting with the players, Pelini explained how he viewed the final days of his time at Nebraska.

"About a week ago, about 10 days ago, I said, I went to a couple of the members of the Board (of Regents), and I don't even know what those guys really do. And I said, 'Hey, if this guy isn't gonna do his job, if he doesn't have the balls to go out there and support me, to support these kids, support this program, do me a favor and get rid of him.'

"And I don't really know where that went, between that and whether that got relayed to them. But at the end of the day, we won that game, and I could see it in the athletic director's face, the other guy's face. Kaz will tell you. They were pissed. They didn't want us to win that game. The Iowa game. And that's strange. That's weird. ... It is what it is."

On the day he fired Pelini, Eichorst described the meeting with Pelini as "a cordial, professional conversation that lasted about 20 minutes."

“I like Bo," Eichorst said then. "Bo is a good guy and, again, a good coach. At the end of the day, I think we both agreed it was best to go in different directions."

In the meeting with players, Pelini offered his own explanation, according to the transcript given the Journal Star.

"When I went in there and he said, 'We are gonna make a change.' And I said, 'All right.' I said, 'You are gonna honor my contract?' 'Yeah.' 'You are gonna honor my assistant coaches contracts?' He said, 'Yeah.'"

Pelini continued: "I think it's the best for both of us. Because if you aren't gonna support us, then ... it's best for everyone involved if we part ways. ... He goes, 'I disagree that I haven't supported you.'

"I said, 'Hey bud, you can't support someone under a f------ rock.' I said, 'To do your job at this level, at a place like this, you gotta be a grown-ass f------ man to lead something. You can't lead anything under a f------ rock. You don't spend any time with us. Our players don't even know who you are. That isn't leadership.

"And he said, 'Well, I appreciate your advice.' I said, 'I suggest you take it, but see you later.' And that's how it went down. At the end of the day, the guy ain't changing. I knew that when I took the job.

"You know, when they forced Coach (Tom) Osborne out, and that is what happened — he got forced out. When they forced him out, I knew what was around the corner. Or what could've been around the corner. But I wasn't sure.

"I'll put it to you this way. It didn't surprise me how it played out. Like I said ... it's hard enough to ... to get to build something but you gotta have everyone going in one direction and it wasn't. Everyone wasn't in the right direction.

"There were agendas and those go all the way over to the chancellor's office. And between the AD and the chancellor and they want their own guy and go ahead, good luck to ya. What I'm concerned about is you guys, and that is all I care about."

Pelini said he wanted to know after the Iowa game where he stood but felt he didn't get any support, calling the administration "p------" for how it handled the situation.

"It's weird when you don't have any relationship with who you supposedly call your bosses and you never see them, ever ..." the coach said. "Let me tell you, there was never any, 'You gotta do this, you gotta do that.' Let me tell you about core values. Fellas, this all stays here. A guy like him who has no integrity, he doesn't understand what a core value is. ... To have a core value, you have to be about something, you have to represent something that is important to you. He is a f------ lawyer that makes policies. All he has done is make policies to cover his own ass."

Pelini seemed to take a similar jab at the NU administration when introduced as Youngstown State's coach Wednesday.

Answering a question about former national championship football coach and current Youngstown State president Jim Tressel, Pelini said: "I have a tremendous athletic director, a president who understands football who's going to support me — something that I don't know if I've ever had."

Reaction to Pelini's words, as one might guess, was intense with varied opinions.

"This should surprise no one. Look back at some players interviews. He cultivated us vs them (media, fans, state) mentality," tweeted former Husker Scott Shanle.

"Leave it to Bo Pelini to stage the mother of all bridge burnings," wrote the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein.

Another viewpoint came from current Husker defensive back Charles Jackson, who tweeted: "Let Bo live his life. He's human just like you are. He has feelings, he gets frustrated and he deserves privacy. He served us well."

It's the second time behind-the-curtain conversations by Pelini have been leaked to the public. A 2-year-old profanity-laced tirade at some fans and media released in September 2013 caused a storm that seemed to, in many ways, hover over the rest of his time as Nebraska coach.

"Men can't talk to men anymore without having someone with their ear on the door listening in to a conversation that doesn't involve them," tweeted Husker offensive lineman Jerald Foster.

Pelini told the players in the meeting that the situation stinks, but they'd get through it by sticking together and would always have him as an ally, though he said of NU's brass, "I don't have a lot of confidence in what their plan is."

Pelini later added: "My advice is, fellas ... it'll be different, but if you choose to stay here, you give the new guy a chance. I went through that, fellas, I went from an old-school coach in Earle Bruce at Ohio State to someone who came in and he was totally different. He was a big-time adjustment. Whoever it is will probably come in here and talk bad about what we've done, or sit there and say, 'We gotta upgrade this, we gotta upgrade that.' But you guys can control your own destiny by what you put on film and how hard you work ...

"Don't get caught up in all the BS, all the stuff the press says around here. At the end of the day, you take care of you, you take care of each other. Usually when you have that attitude, things work out, OK?"

The fact that the meeting was held at Lincoln North Star was of some intrigue when it happened.

An LPS staffer was charged $262 for allowing Pelini and the team to meet in the school's auditorium without reserving the room.

UNL chancellor Harvey Perlman said at new head coach Mike Riley's introductory news conference that there was no contractual violation with Pelini meeting the team after being fired. But he also said the coach "certainly" could have met with them on campus.

When asked if it was Pelini's choice to meet off-campus, Perlman said: "I would assume so."

Pelini told the players during the meeting he had no plans to come in and "toe the company line" in his final talk to them. He also told them he'd be there for them whenever they needed.

"It's a b---- here," he said. "It is hard enough when you have the negativity that comes from the media and former players, this talk show and that talk show. You win and it ain't good enough. It's not good enough how you won. ... It was never more evident than the Wisconsin game. I thought you guys were more mentally beat than we got physically beat. It's a culmination of the negativity. I understand, you guys are human. That is why I talked to you guys constantly. Last game you guys just said, 'F--- it, let's play.' And you at least played free. That is my advice to you guys that come back. You can't let this place eat you up, because if you let it, it will eat you up.

"I have been LSU, I have been at Oklahoma, I been to these other places — the scrutiny, it ain't like that everywhere. But it is what it is and you gotta be strong as hell and deal with it. Because it's real, I know it's out there. I've seen it. Am I right or wrong?

"You gotta fight that, fellas. You gotta just go play and enjoy this thing, because at the end of the day, it's not a job. It ought to be the best time of your life. And if you guys have on your mind, 'Do I want to go or stay?' At the end of the day, you gotta sit there and think this is how many years I got left, these gotta be the best of my life.

"If you don't think this is the best place, then you shouldn't stay. But if you think this is for you and you will enjoy your career, you should stay. That is what it should come down to because, fellas, it'll be over before you know it. It goes fast. You seniors know, it goes quick. You wanna make sure you are able to enjoy it, OK?"

​Reach the writer at 402-473-7439 or bchristopherson@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.


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