Former Big 10 referee wasn’t a fan of Bo Pelini

LSU football defensive coordinator Bo Pelini (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
LSU football defensive coordinator Bo Pelini (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images) /

Ed Orgeron recently hired Bo Pelini to be LSU football’s new defensive coordinator.

Between Bo Pelini’s stints as LSU’s defensive coordinator, he was the head coach at Nebraska (and later Youngstown State).

During Pelini’s first run at LSU, he developed a reputation as a fiery presence on the sideline. He was often seen screaming at whoever was near him — including officials.

That reputation followed him to Nebraska. And it’s a reputation that college football referees were familiar with.

Former Big 10 referee Dan Carpon recently gave a rare tell-all interview with The Chicago Tribune. Carpon was very candid in the interview, specifically when talking about various interactions with head coaches.

For example, Carpon noted that former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was extremely distant with refs during games, essentially refusing to communicate with any member of the officiating staff.

Unprovoked, Carpon told The Chicago Tribune that Pelini was the worst coach he ever worked a game for, saying “The worst coach I’ve ever worked for, ever, not even close, no one within 10 miles, is Bo Pelini”.

Here’s a snippet of a story that Carpon told about Pelini during a matchup between Nebraska and Purdue.

"Unbeknownst to me, Coach P is over there on the sideline going crazy. I step out and announce: The ruling on the field is that the loose ball was recovered by Nebraska. It will be second down and 10 at the such-and-such yard line. As I turn to the Nebraska sideline, he is pointing at me, screaming at the top of his lungs, “I’ll have your job!” The moment “job” was out of his mouth, my flag hit its apex. So now there’s 15 yards against Nebraska."

It’s rare to hear a ref get candid. But it’s not a surprise that Carpon wasn’t a fan of Pelini. The former Nebraska head coach can be a polarizing figure — especially with officials.

But Pelini isn’t on the field to make friends. He’s out there to win games.

And that’s what he’s going to help LSU do in 2020 — as long as his fiery personality doesn’t draw any unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.