Pelini Named Defensive Coordinator
BATON ROUGE – Bo Pelini, who helped LSU to the 2007 BCS National Championship, is returning to the Tiger coaching staff as defensive coordinator, head coach Ed Orgeron announced on Monday.
Pelini returns to LSU after serving as the head coach at Youngstown State for the past five seasons where he guided the Penguins to a 33-28 overall mark and an appearance in the FCS National Championship Game in 2016. Pelini has a head coaching record of 100-55, which includes seven years as head coach at Nebraska.
Pelini’s hire is pending approval from the LSU Board of Supervisors.
“We are privileged to have one of the top defensive coordinators in all of football in Bo Pelini join our staff,” Orgeron said. “Bo has had some of the best defenses in football during his career and we are looking forward to him bringing his tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise back to LSU to continue to win championships.”
In his three years as defensive coordinator with the Tigers from 2005-07, LSU went a combined 34-6, claimed the 2007 national title and beat Notre Dame to win the Sugar Bowl during the 2006 season. LSU also appeared in the SEC Championship Game twice, winning the league title in 2007.
In his first stint as defensive coordinator with the Tigers, LSU’s defense ranked No. 3 nationally in total defense all three years. LSU finished No. 1 in the Southeastern Conference in total defense in both 2006 and 2007 and ranked No. 2 in the league in 2005.
“The opportunity to return to LSU is truly unique,” Pelini said. “Culturally, with my prior experience at LSU, I know it is a great fit for me. The chance to work with Coach Orgeron, the ability to take charge of the Tigers defense, is something that I’m extremely excited about. All of that in a place that both my family and I immensely enjoyed when we were there before is very exciting for us. We are very honored and looking forward to this next chapter.”
With Pelini as defensive coordinator, LSU led the SEC in scoring defense twice in 2006 and 2007. LSU allowed only 12.6 points per game in 2006, which ranked No. 4 nationally, while the 14.2 points per game the Tigers gave up in 2005 rated No. 2 in the league and No. 3 in the nation.
Under Pelini, LSU averaged 38 sacks a season over that three-year span and the Tiger defense was credited with a combined 71 turnovers, which included 36 in 2007, a figure that led the SEC and ranked No. 3 nationally.
In Pelini’s three years with the Tigers, LSU had defensive players earn seven first team All-America honors and had eight defenders selected in the NFL Draft, which included first round picks in Glenn Dorsey and LaRon Landry. Dorsey also became the most decorated defensive player in LSU history claiming four national awards – Outland, Lombardi, Nagurski and Lott.
One of the most respected and innovative defensive minds in the game, Pelini spent seven years at head coach at Nebraska from 2008-2014 where he led the Cornhuskers to a mark of 66-27. Pelini’s Nebraska teams won at least nine games all seven years he was in Lincoln, which included three 10-win seasons from 2009-11.
Pelini guided Nebraska to appearances in the Big 12 Championship Game in 2009 and 2010 and then followed that with a Big Ten Legends Division Crown in 2012 and the school’s lone appearance in the Big Ten title game. Nebraska appeared in a bowl game in all seven of Pelini’s seasons with the school.