Nebraska Head Football Coach Bo Pelini got fired yesterday.  No, the formal announcement wasn't made by the new Husker athletic director, Shawn Eichorst.  And it didn't come from Chancellor Harvey Perlman.  It came from Bo himself.

Following the Husker's 38-17 loss to Big Ten rival Iowa on Friday, Bo did what Bo does best.  He melted down during the post-game press conference.  When he was asked to comment on the unsportsmanlike penalty he received during the game when he protested a pass interference call on his team, he called the penalty "chickenshit."  That was not the right thing to say.

I've mentioned in this blog before that I teach a grad/undergrad class at the University of Nebraska-Omaha called "Behavioral Aspects of Coaching."  During Bo's tenure at Nebraska, the class has discussed his coaching behavior on several occasions.  Here are some examples of how Bo's behavior should not be copied by young coaches:

*    Don't curse during press conferences.
*  Don't embarrass yourself, your program, and your university through your       actions and words.
*    Don't get unsportsmanlike penalties on yourself during games.
*    Don't lash out at offical's calls during a post-game press conference.
*  Don't provide public ammunition to your bosses when your job status is       shaky.
*    Don't throw the opponent's coach under the bus because of your actions.
*    Don't embarrass yourself, your program, and your university through your
      actions and words.

Oh, I already mentioned that one, didn't I?  You get the picture.  No matter how badly things look, and no matter how badly you want to point the finger at a myriad of reasons why you acted the way you did, you don't curse and you don't embarrass yourself.  Because your bosses are watching closely in the background.

There has been speculation for weeks regarding Bo's job security after the team debacle at Minnesota a few weeks ago.  After running up a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, the Huskers found a way to lethargically lose to the Golden Gophers by a score of 34-23.  And this happened after a bye week in which the team had two weeks to prepare.  The Minnesota win was the first over a Nebraska team since 1961.

Bo was brought to Nebraska by former athletic director and football coaching legend, Tom Osborne.  Pelini had the reputation of being a defensive guru, and Nebraska badly needed shoring up of a defense under former head coach Bill Callahan that routinely gave up 50+ points to the opponents.  Pelini had also been the Husker defensive coordinator for one year under Osborne successor, Frank Solich.  Solich and his staff were fired by then new athletic director Steve Pederson.  Osborne thought he had his man when he brought the popular Pelini back as head coach.

But the public spectacles of uncontrollable behavior on and off the field may have finally caught up with the fiery Pelini.  You love the passionate coaches, the ones who get fired up on the sidelines and exhibit behavior meant to motivate his players.  But you cringe at the crass behavior and language when the head coach is asked to explain his actions.  Then the Husker faithful have to watch the national press hammer Pelini over his actions.  Finally, you just can't take any more of it.

Bo Pelini is a good guy.  His players pretty much tow the line and act respectfully in the public eye.  They go to class and they graduate.  They are quick to defend their head coach. Pelini has done a lot of good things off the field that people aren't aware of, especially with his nonprofit foundation that assists many excellent causes.

But Bo is his worst enemy.  Bo just can't seem to catch on to how a head football coach at a major university should act in the public eye during and following games, regardless of the outcome.  And Eichorst has stayed mysteriously quiet during all the rumors and innuendo surrounding Pelini's job status, only stating Pelini's coaching review will take place following the season.

Bo probably crossed the line with his words and actions during the Iowa game. Pearlman and Eichorst are probably hashing out the details as we speak.  If Pelini goes, he takes a ton of money with him because of how his contract is written.  When Osborne fired Callahan, and Pearlman fired Pederson, both left with a combined $5 million dollars left on their contracts.  The public also cringes when they read that kind of money being given to someone on their way out the door.

The Pelini buyout will also be costly if he is given the pink slip.  But Bo did himself wrong, again, and he's probably going to pay the ultimate price for his behavior: the loss of his head coaching job at the University of Nebraska.  

But if that happens, the unusually quiet and distant Eichorst will be forced to make his first major coaching hire at Nebraska.  Is he ready for that responsibility?

Author's Bio: 

Steve Brennan, a former educator and college basketball coach, has Masters degrees in Educational Administration and Sport Psychology, and a Doctorate in Performance and Health Psychology. He is the author of several books, including Six Psychological Factors for Success and The Recruiters Bible (3rd Edition). He is President of Peak Performance Consultants, and the President and CEO of the Center for Performance Enhancement Research and Education (CPERE). Steve is the developer of the Success Factors Scales, both Corporate and Athletics Editions. and