At the end of 2014, Youngstown State was in need of a new head coach after moving on from Youngstown boy Eric Wolford. They would eventually replace Wolford with another Youngstown boy. That man being Bo Pelini who had just been fired a few weeks ago from Nebraska.
His first season at YSU was a slow start as the team finished with a disappointing 5-6 record. This included close losses to teams like North Dakota State, Pitt, Illinois State, Indiana State, and Southern Illinois.
Though the Penguins regressed, there was promise as five of those games they only lost by three or more. And, heading into 2016 was the year where the team would finally make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
That is exactly what happened. Youngstown State finished 12-4, the first double-digit winning season since 2006, and made it to the FCS Championship with Pelini leading. They did lose to James Madison 38-24 but promise was ahead.
Two players from that team were selected in that 2017 NFL Draft. One was defensive end Derek Rivers by the New England Patriots and the other was Avery Moss by the New York Giants. The program did not have a draft pick since 1998.
However, the last three seasons were plagued by injuries and a tougher schedule, with the total record being 17-18 from 2017 to 2019. Everyone thought Bo Pelini would stay, but after the LSU National Championship, there was uncertainty.
The Breaking News
Then, January 27th, 2020, it was reported that Pelini would resign as the head coach of the Youngstown State Penguins.
The Youngstown Cardinal Mooney graduate finished his five years at YSU with a record of 33-28. He also has a career record of 100-55 from his years coaching Nebraska football.
Pelini is now going back to be the defensive coordinator for the LSU Tigers, under now National Champion head coach Ed Orgeron.
The Tigers recently lost their former defensive coordinator David Aranda who took the head coaching job at Baylor, following Matt Rhule resignation in order to be the Carolina Panthers next head coach.
Now, LSU will have coach O and coach Bo, both looking for another National Title. Pelini in his return to Louisiana, and Orgeron, now without future first-round pick Joe Burrow.
Pelini’s First sting at LSU
Pelini got the job as defensive coordinator for the Tigers in 2005. Before that, he was a co-defensive coordinator for Oklahoma.
The success continued on as Pelini had a top-three nationally ranked defense with his three years at LSU. The Tigers bounced back from losses to Kentucky and Arkansas to advance to the SEC Championship game.
Pelini’s defense picked off Volunteers quarterback Erik Ainge twice during the game and the Tigers won 21-14, advancing to the BCS National Championship where they would play Jim Tressel’s Ohio State Buckeyes, his former college.
The LSU defense picked off former Buckeye quarterback Todd Boeckman twice. The Tigers would win 38-24. Bo would leave for Nebraska after the Championship and finished with a record of 67-27 from 2008-2014. LSU fans will be even more hyped up if they hear Bo shout “Geaux Tigers.”
Statement from YSU
Executive Director of Athletics Ron Strollo according to ysusports.com said that the national search will begin immediately.
Strollo followed after by saying that he thanks Coach Pelini for the passion he brought on the field and returning to Youngstown for the last five seasons.
“We wish Bo and his family the best of luck in their future and that YSU football is very special to them.” Strollo continued saying how they will work their hearts out to find someone who built on top of what Bo brought to the Penguin Nation.
President Jim Tressel told WKBN27 “I think he felt like it was the thing to do, and he didn’t short us one bit. I really believe as he does that he left us possessioned that he left us with a group of great kids to have a great future.”
Tressel continued about the next coach. “We’ve always wanted someone who had the love for the institution, a love for the region, take care of the kids, hold them to high expectations, and academics being an all-time high, athletic department all-time high and we want to win.”
Pelini stated on the website that he cannot thank President Tressel and Athletic Director Ron Strollo enough and that he will still check in on YSU football.
Sports Illustrated is reporting that Pelini’s deal with LSU is worth $2.3 million per year.
Who will replace Bo Pelini?
There can be a few coaches in the mix of things for the Penguins. One of them being Bo’s brother Carl. Carl Pelini has experience as a head coach. Back in 2012-2013, he coached the Florida Atlantic Owls.
In 2018, he was the interim head coach for the Bowling Green Falcons, before returning to YSU last season as defensive coordinator.
One big prediction but not likely to happen is Bob Stoops if the XFL doesn’t work out. That’s only a prediction, not likely will happen.
Finally, there is former Penguin quarterback Mark Brungard. Brungard is a coach for the Springfield football team. His son Beau is the quarterback and is already being looked at by the Penguins. Springfield finished the season 14-1 and their first appearance in the Division VI State Championship Game.
This is going to be an interesting search, we will soon see who will be the next head coach of the Youngstown State Penguins.
Bo Pelini Main Photo: