Pelini: Program shut down until coach is named

Updated: December 30, 2003, 7:56 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO -- Interim Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini said Tuesday the Nebraska football program is essentially in a shutdown mode until a permanent coach is named.

Pelini and Nebraska's assistant coaches are awaiting a decision by athletic director Steve Pederson, who fired Frank Solich on Nov. 29.

"They are all pretty much unemployed now," Pelini said of himself and the rest of the staff.

Pelini, who led the Huskers (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP) to a 17-3 victory over Michigan State in Monday night's Alamo Bowl, did not rule out looking for another job now that the bowl game is over.

Pelini said he had not talked to Pederson since immediately after the game, and that was only a brief encounter.

"He shook my hand and said nice job," Pelini said.

When Pederson named Pelini interim head coach, he said Pelini would serve through the bowl game.

"I've got to make sure my family is taken care of," Pelini said.

Pelini also said he was not in negotiations with Pederson and that he had been given no indication when the search for a new coach would end.

Athletic department spokeswoman Chris Anderson said Pederson would not comment on the remarks Pelini made Tuesday.

Pederson has been conducting the search by himself.

Asked how long he was willing to wait for a possible job offer from Pederson, Pelini said he did not have a timetable.

Pelini brushed aside talk that he would be a second-choice selection if he were hired now, more than a month after Solich's firing. It has been widely reported that Pederson may be trying to land a coach with NFL experience.

"There are a lot of second choices that do pretty well," Pelini said.

College teams begin putting the finishing touches on their recruiting classes after the bowls. Signing day is Feb. 4.

Football is in so-called "dead" or "quiet" periods until Jan. 11. During a dead period, coaches are not allowed to make any contact with prospects. In a quiet period, coaches are allowed to make in-person contacts with prospects, but only on campus.

The Huskers' progress is on hold. They have verbal commitments from 13 players, but none since Nov. 16. Teams can sign a maximum of 25 players.

Pelini said he plans to relax once he gets back to Lincoln.

"I'm not going to do much of anything," he said. "I'm going to relax and enjoy my time and let things take their course. ... I've got to sit back and make some decisions."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press