Bo Pelini opens up about the tape recording and Tommy Frazier situation

Posted by: Pete Roussel on Wednesday September 18, 2013


In the midst of difficult times, Bo Pelini visited with Bill King on SiriusXM Radio on Wednesday morning.

King handled the interview very professionally and gave Pelini the opportunity to speak his mind.

It was a 15-minute interview, in which Pelini himself handled very well.

Pelini said, “It was an unfortunate situation that came up and as far as somebody who obviously deliberately tried to attack me personally by posting something from years ago that was said in a private room between myself and two other people in an extremely emotional time.

“People, I’m sure you have, everybody that’s human has said something they don’t necessarily mean in a private moment behind closed doors that wasn’t meant for public consumption.  You say things that you don’t necessarily mean.  That’s why we as human being need time to regroup.  Somebody chose to record it and hold on to it to attack me at some point.  That’s what happened this week. It’s unfortunate and it’s been a difficult couple of days.”

During Tuesday’ Big Ten teleconference, you said you heard something was out there?

Pelini said, “We’ll get more in detail later today, but yeah, there was something that was mentioned that I believed there was something out there that I didn’t know what it was, I didn’t know any specifics, I didn’t hear it, I didn’t even know what it was from.  The subject came up, the reference to it came up a long time after the fact.”

Was it in a threating mode to you?

“I don’t know.  It might have been.  We’ll get into more specifics later on.  It was put out there to, I think, Coach Osborne.”

Did Dr. Tom bring it to you?

“I’ll get into more specifics later on today.”

Is there a press conference?

“No, but I’m working through with…”

Can you give me a time?

“No, not yet.”

Are you considering legal options?

“All I’m concerned about is our football team, our school, and obviously my family.  It’s been a difficult couple of days.  I haven’t considered anything like that.  It’s unfortunate.  All I’m concerned about is doing the best job I can in my job and it’s for this football team.  That’s all that matters to me and this program.  You know, Bill, that I’ve done everything I can to run this program with class, to do the right things, do the right things for my players, not just on the field but off-the-field, and the discipline we have and what we do academically and what our kids do in the community, all those things, for somebody to come out and personally attack me like this, I don’t get it.  And to make it sound like this is representative of how I feel about our fans, our fans know, I believe they truly, truly know that I don’t feel that way.  I’ve said it over and over and over, but it’s like anything else – emotional things happen and emotional times happen.  I’ve always been protective of our players, the kids that come into our program, I take the role as if I’m their surrogate father.  I approach my job that way; I look after my kids.  A number of events happened that day, that week, that evening that I took as a little bit of an attack on my players.  Right, wrong, or indifferent, I hold responsibilities for what happened, for this getting out and for everything else that goes along with it.  At the end of day, it’s obviously not indicative of how I feel about our fans.  I’m sure our fans are reasonable people, they’re great people.  That’s why I think it’s a good fit.  We share a lot of the same values and same principles.  After the initial shock of this coming out, I think they will have a pretty good understanding of what happened and the motivation behind this and have a good understanding what we’re dealing with here.”

You said later today, you’ll have some things to say?

“I want to make sure, the most important thing to me is I’m on the same page as far as what’s going on as far as my athletic director, our chancellor, and the administration.  I don’t want to say anything until we’re on the same page and all the things we’re doing to investigate this and get to the bottom of things, we’re on the same page.  I don’t want to say too much until we’re all together and do it the right way.”

Are you suggesting that you have something to say about your future or is this strictly about the tape topic?

“Eventually, this needs to get put to rest, but you can’t put anything to rest until everybody’s on the same page and all the investigation has been done, all the due diligence has been done. That involves more than just me.  There was a lot to this.  At the end of the day, it doesn’t make any sense to rush to judgment. That’s what is being done in this case.”

Are you confident about your future?

“Am I confident about my future? Yes. I have confidence in the support I get with the people around me.  I’ve said this is where I want to be.  This is where I want to be.  Like I said, people that are wondering why this person would make a statement, why you wouldn’t go more in-depth, there is work to be done in situations like this.  If you rush to something, you don’t have all the facts.  The facts have to be brought out. People have to do their jobs.  That takes time.  I think everybody on our team is doing just that, so we can get on the same page.

Is it important to find out who did this?

“Umm, I think we’re a lot closer to that if it hasn’t been completely determined already.”

Do you know who it is?

“I have an idea (of who it is).”

What are you doing next?

“For me, it’s been business as usual, as usual as can be in a circumstance like this.  I’ve been game planning, working, and doing my job.  My job is to serve my players.  That’s how I approach it.  We’re doing everything we can to get our guys ready to go for this Saturday. Fortunately for me, I have people around me that are handling the other aspects of it.  That’s what you need in a circumstance in this.”

How is your wife holding up?

“She’s the best.  She’s the strongest person I know.  It was a difficult thing for a couple of days, especially my children.  They didn’t know everything about it, but my fourteen-year-old did.  That’s the sad part about it.  When it goes there, that’s unfortunate.  At the end of the day, this was a personal attack.  For what reason, I have no idea.  It was just low and it was unfortunate to say the least.

“That was not representative of how I feel.  Do I take responsibility for saying it?  Yea, I take responsibility for saying it.  I’m a grown man.  At the end of the day, that was not meant to be put out there.  If I had said that at a press conference in front of a microphone, that’s a whole different deal. This was a different circumstances.  I’ve learned from it.  Trust me, this will never happen again.  I think the steps will be put in place. I think every coach has a place to go to decompress in certain situations after a game or after a stressful time.  For this to happen, it was unfortunate.  I take full responsibility for it and I’ll do everything going forward to correct it.”

Would you have responded differently to Tommie Frazier?

“Umm, yea.  I wasn’t trying to attack Tommie Frazier.  I wasn’t.  I was just dismissing it.  I don’t know why people took it the way it was.  Maybe I wouldn’t have used those words. At the end of the day, I was shocked by it.  It was shocking to me.  I wasn’t trying to get into it with Tommie Frazier.  I was calling it like ‘so-be-it.  If that the way he feels, he’s entitled to his opinion.’  That’s it.  Once again, you live and learn.  By no means was I trying to get into a fight with Tommie Frazier.”

Do you plan on talking to Tommie Frazier?

“I’ll talk to Tommie if they want to talk.  People are entitled to their opinion.  If that’s the way he feels, that’s not going to affect me one way or another.  I have a job to do.  I don’t know if we need to talk.  If he wants to talk, I’ll talk.  I have no problem with that.  I think he’ll get past this.  At the end of the day, I have a job to do.  That’s what I’m focusing on.”

You give me a hint that something is going to be released today?

“We’ll see.” 

Is it today or not?

“I’m not sure. We still have a little bit of work to do.”

(Credit Bill King for a terrific interview.  King has always had a terrific relationship with Pelini.)

You can now listen to the interview, right here.

Pete Roussel is a valuable resource for coaches, athletic directors, NFL front-office personnel, and college football enthusiasts. A former college football coach, Roussel shares insight on coaches 365 days a year and is recognized as the most trusted expert on coaching transactions. Follow @CoachingSearch on twitter and send your feedback to pete@coachingsearch.comtest