Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini will not be fired before the Cornhuskers' bowl game, according to a statement issued by Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst Saturday morning (via the Omaha World-Herald):
"My approach has always been to not comment publicly about our coaches until their full seasons are complete, as I strongly believe it is unfair and counter to best practices. However, given the volume of unfounded speculation and conjecture about our head football coach, I want to reaffirm what I have said many times since I have arrived at the University of Nebraska - that I positively respect, appreciate and support our football student-athletes, coaches and staff, as we do everyone in the Husker family. We very much look forward to our upcoming bowl game and Coach Pelini continuing to lead our program in the future."
Pelini has been under fire since a September loss to UCLA. His team lost its last two home games, including a 38-17 defeat against Iowa Friday, and finished a disappointing third place in the Big Ten Legends Division. In the season finale, the sixth-year coach was flagged for throwing his hat at an official, and angrily dismissed a question from a sideline reporter. Following the game, Pelini used an expletive while describing the pass interference call that prompted the hat-throwing and criticized the media for its negativity. After being repeatedly asked about his future, he told reporters, "If they want to fire me, go ahead."
Pelini's problems began after the UCLA loss, when a tape was produced in which he criticized the local media and fans. Eichorst had remained quiet despite the speculation in the media and public, and Saturday's written statement was his first public declaration regarding Pelini's future.