As Florida Atlantic prepares to say goodbye to a college football legend — and the only head coach in program history — in Howard Schnellenberger, the Owls already have his replacement in the wings.
According to multiple reports, Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini will be named the next head coach in a press conference Monday. Pelini has spent the past four years in Lincoln under his brother, Bo.
Schnellenberger, 77, is the only coach the Owls have had in their 11 seasons in existence. In that time, they've won two bowls games, one Sun Belt title and sent four players to the NFL. More importantly, Schnellenberger also helped raise money for FAU's new on-campus stadium, which opened this year. After 27 years as a college coach — including stops at Miami and Louisville, two other schools that didn't have on-campus venues during his tenure — FAU's is the first stadium project he was able to see through from start to finish.
In August, Schnellenberger announced plans to retire. His team didn't take the news too well, losing its first 10 games of the season before beating UAB in overtime last weekend. The Owls end their season — and Schnellenberger's tenure — against Louisiana-Monroe this weekend.
During Pelini's time at Nebraska, the Cornhuskers' defense has greatly improved. It ranked 112th nationally before Pelini arrived and then ranked 55th in 2008, seventh in 2009 and 11th in 2010 in total defense, and are currently 36th this season.
For FAU's sake, let's hope the Carl Pelini we saw after last year's loss at Texas A&M won't be rearing his head any time soon.
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Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham.