At the Omaha World-Herald‘s Big Red Breakfast on Thursday morning, legendary Husker head coach Tom Osborne made a confession.
When he hired former Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini as Athletic Director in 2008, he really took a chance on the coach.
“There were a lot of good things about him, but he didn’t relate well to the press, and in many cases did not relate well to the fans,” Osborne said. “And so those were the things that were not as good. So, end result I think that it didn’t work out as well as I had hoped.”
Pelini went 66-27 in his seven years as head coach of Nebraska. Pelini won nine or more games every single season, but was fired after the 2014 season.
Pelini also had a tumultuous relationship with fans at the press. In 2013, Deadspin released a tape of Pelini cursing about fans after a Nebraska game. After Pelini was fired, the World-Herald obtained tape of Pelini’s final meeting with his players, where he went on a expletive-ridden tirade about Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst.
Osborne compared the hiring of Pelini to Frank Solich, who was hired in 1998 after Osborne retired.
“If you have somebody that you really know well, and you feel you have stability, that’s probably the ideal situation,” Osborne said. “And so I guess I still think that Frank Solich in the long run would have done very well, and did do pretty well if you looked at his record and his demeanor and how he behaved.
“Most people would say, ‘Well, we probably would take that again.’ ”
Osborne said Pelini won a lot of games but, in the end, probably didn’t know enough about his character before he hired him.
“And some of those things jumped up and bit him and bit the program,” Osborne said.