- Brett McMurphy, College football reporter
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Former Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini denied using illegal drugs and is seeking reinstatement because he was forced to resign, he said in a statement issued to ESPN on Thursday.
In the statement, Pelini said he denied using illegal drugs to FAU athletic director Patrick Chun on Oct. 30 but was told by Chun that it was "irrelevant" because he was "being relieved" of his duties "for failure to supervise my staff."
Pelini indicated Chun told him at least one staff member admitted using drugs in the coach's presence, but Pelini denied knowledge that "any staff member was using illegal drugs."
Pelini and defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis resigned last week. On Oct. 30, Chun told reporters both coaches admitted to using "illegal drugs," which was in violation of their contracts.
Chun said Thursday that Pelini initially agreed to take a drug test on Oct. 30 but that when informed it would be done immediately on site, Pelini then declined.
Pelini said he denied using illegal drugs to Chun and that he offered to take a drug test.
According to Pelini, Chun said Pelini's "denial of illegal drug use was irrelevant because I was being relieved of my duties for failure to supervise my staff." Pelini said he "had recently become aware of a personal relationship between a staff member and a person close to the athletic department. The relationship, to my knowledge, did not involve illegal drug use or any other illegal activity."
FAU defensive line coach Matt Edwards and Allison Stewart, who Chun called a "personal friend" of the coaches, both indicated in notarized affidavits that they observed Pelini smoking marijuana during a three-day coaches trip to Key West on Oct. 18-20. Edwards also stated he witnessed Pelini and Rekstis use cocaine within the past year. Stewart said in her affidavit that, on Oct. 20, she received a text message from Pelini admitting to drug use.
Chun told ESPN on Thursday he has seen that text message from Pelini to Edwards and that he stands by his statements from last week and he has "ample evidence" which was presented to each coach.
Chun also reiterated that Pelini "voluntarily resigned" and "refused to cooperate in the investigation." When asked about Pelini being reinstated as coach, Chun said "he resigned. I accepted his resignation."
Pelini said his "forced resignation" occurred after Chun and a university police officer took Pelini's phone and denied his requests to contact legal counsel. Chun said he could not comment about that specific allegation.
Pelini also claimed he was not provided written notice and a 30-day investigation period, as required by his contract. Chun said there were certain matters he could not comment on because the issue was still being reviewed by FAU's human resources department.
Following the 2011 season, Pelini replaced Howard Schnellenberger as FAU's coach after being the defensive coordinator at Nebraska for his brother, coach Bo Pelini.
Pelini was 5-15 with the Owls -- 3-10 in conference play.
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