Nebraska could have a new football coach by the end of the current season. Maybe sooner.
Bo Pelini’s 2011 tirade which became public this week may not be an unforgivable offense. His dustup with Husker legend Tommie Frazier isn’t worthy of dismissal. But those incidents, taken with his past public relations difficulties, surely are starting to wear on his bosses at the University.
Chancellor Harvey Pearlman and Athletic Director Sean Eickhorst have pretty demanding jobs. They are at the helm of a school and an athletic department with plenty of challenges. They have a lot of people who work for them and tons of issues to deal with every day.
It must be frustrating to have an employee who doesn’t seem to be able to avoid creating problems... usually unnecessarily.
I don’t question Coach Pelini’s commitment to his players and the football program. He wants to win. He protects his players and wants the best for them. He has shown us that he is trying to make them better people, not just better players. He has demonstrated that he has their backs, and that the final score isn’t the only measure of success.
He showed compassion for young cancer victim Jack Hoffman by making sure he scored a touchdown in the Red/White game last year. He has done a lot of good for a lot of people.
However, a leader on such a public stage has to be aware of the impression his words and actions convey. He may be churning inside, but a good leader needs to look in control and dignified on the outside.
Eikhorst probably will have to take some action in response to the release of the 2011 audio. Perhaps a fine or a brief suspension are in order.
Firing Coach Pelini now would be a mistake, damaging the school and athletic department more than the audio did.
After the season ends, it will be up to his bosses to determine if the coach has learned from his mistake and grown as a leader.
Here’s an idea Eikhorst might suggest to Coach Pelini if he feels the need to swear: Go to your car, blast the stereo and make sure the windows are rolled up.