Pelini Leaving Penguins for LSU Coordinator Job

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Bo Pelini, head coach of the Youngstown State University football team, is leaving to take the defensive coordinator position at Louisiana State University.

“The past five years have been terrific. I can’t thank President Jim Tressel and Ron Strollo enough for the opportunity here and support along the way,” he said in a statement Monday afternoon. “For all of the people, honestly too many to name, who were part of my YSU experience, I also want to extend a heartfelt thank you.

“The experience for me professionally to coach my hometown university and to appear in a championship game, is something I will always treasure,” he continued. “For Mary Pat and I, Youngstown will always hold an element of home for us with our children graduating from Cardinal Mooney High School and so many of our family members residing here. My YSU days will always be special for the entire Pelini family.”

Pelini had been head coach of the Penguins since the 2015 season. During his tenure in Youngstown, the team went 45-30 overall, including a run to the national title game in 2016 in his only postseason appearance with the team. That team produced two NFL draft picks in Derek Rivers (New England) and Avery Moss (New York Giants).

Outside of that playoff team, Pelini’s Penguins never won more than six games in a season and amassed a conference record of 18-22.

He signed a three-year contract extension with YSU in March.

Prior to taking his first collegiate head coach job at the University of Nebraska, Pelini was the defensive coordinator for the LSU Tigers under Les Miles from 2005 to 2007. While there, the LSU defense produced six first-team All-Americans. 

In 2008, he took over as head coach at Nebraska, where he compiled a 67-27 record, winning at least nine games each season. He was fired on Nov. 30, 2014, joining YSU in early 2015.

The Tigers are coming off a national title and Heisman Trophy-winning season from quarterback and Athens, Ohio, native Joe Burrow. Pelini will replace Dave Aranda, who took the head coach position at Baylor University.

The news was first reported by Brett McMurphy of The Stadium Network. According to Sports Illustrated’s Jenna West, Pelini’s contract with LSU is a multiyear deal that pays about $2 million per year. 

“The opportunity to return to LSU is truly unique.  Culturally, with my prior experience at LSU, I know it is a great fit for me. The chance to work with Coach (Ed) Orgeron, the ability to take charge of the Tigers defense,” Pelini said. “All of that in a place that both my family and I immensely enjoyed when we were there before is very exciting for us.  We are very honored and looking forward to this next chapter.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.