By Dieter Kurtenbach, Sun Sentinel
5:58 PM EST, November 7, 2013
Former FAU coach Carl Pelini wants his job back.
Eight days after Pelini and FAU defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis resigned amid allegations of drug use, Pelini submitted a retraction of his resignation in a letter to FAU in which he asks to be reinstated as FAU’s head football coach.
Pelini alleges in the letter, obtained by the Sun Sentinel and other media outlets, that he was forced to resign by FAU athletic director Pat Chun against his will and that he never used drugs. Chun has released a statement standing by his remarks about Pelini’s alleged drug use.
In the letter, which was sent to FAU interim president Dennis Crudele, board of trustees chair Antony Barbar and general counsel David Kian, Pelini alleges that he denied using illegal drugs three times in his meeting with Chun on Oct. 30 and that he offered to take a drug test to prove his innocence.
That allegation stands in stark contrast to Chun’s statement on Oct. 30 that both Pelini and Rekstis admitted to using what Chun called “illegal drugs” and that both men declined to take drug tests, which would have been administered on site.
“They tenured their resignations to me late this morning after I confronted both with reports relating to their use of illegal drugs,” Chun said at the Oct. 30 press conference. “They admitted to wrongdoings and they resigned on the spot.”
Pelini also alleges in the letter that Chun did not ask him to resign for drug use, but rather that his resignation was “based on a failure to supervise [his] staff.”
Pelini, in statements made to ESPN on Thursday, said he was told by Chun that his “denial of illegal drug use was irrelevant.”
Pelini’s contract with FAU prohibited drug use.
Pelini also told ESPN that he “had recently become aware of a personal relationship between a staff member and a person close to the athletic department.”
Defensive line coach Matt Edwards and local realtor Allison Stewart, who is close to the program and is friends with the FAU coaching staff, signed affidavits that stated they had both seen Pelini use marijuana on Oct. 19 while they were on a trip in Key West during FAU’s bye week.
Edwards’ affidavit also states that he had seen Pelini and Rekstis use cocaine in the last year.
Pelini said in his letter to FAU that Edwards and Stewart had a “strong motive to have me removed from my head coaching position.” Pelini does not state the motive.
The letter never directly alleges that Edwards and Stewart lied in their affidavits.
Stewart declined to comment when reached by the Sun Sentinel, while Edwards deferred all questions to Chun.
Pelini also alleges in the letter that Chun and a university police officer took his phone, which was university property, and denied his requests for legal counsel.
“I now know that my legal counsel would have advised me not to sign the letter,” Pelini wrote.
Pelini’s legal counsel, Brian Kopp, was in contact with FAU on Oct. 30. According to documents obtained by the Sun Sentinel through a public records request, Kopp sent Kian a statement from Pelini that was forwarded to and read by Chun at the Oct. 30 press conference.
Pelini also alleges that the school did not follow the dispute resolution procedures outlined in his contract.
“My contract requires FAU to give me written notice of any employment matter and then to investigate it over a 30-day period,” the letter states.
Section 14, Clause A of Pelini’s 2011 contract with FAU states:
“The parties shall attempt in good faith to resolve any dispute ... Any party may give the other party written notice of any dispute not resolved in the normal course of business.”
Calls to Pelini and Kopp were not been returned.
Chun released a statement through FAU’s spokeswoman, Katrina McCormack:
“I stand by my statement and decision from last week. We had ample evidence to support the charges that we confronted both coaches with. We have no further comment at this time.”
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