Bo Pelini was LSU's defensive coordinator from 2005-07. Now, the former Tigers' assistant coach is back with the program.
The Youngstown, Ohio native left LSU for the Nebraska head coaching job in 2008. He was with the Huskers until he was fired following the 2014 regular season.
Pelini took over the Youngstown State program in 2015. He coached in his hometown until Ed Orgeron came calling this offseason.
“It’s an honor to be back here,” Pelini said at LSU's coaches clinic. “When I left, my time at Nebraska and when I went back to Youngstown, it was for a reason. It was family oriented. It was all about where I wanted my kids to graduate high school. I ended up staying and during that time I had a number of different opportunities. To be honest with you, I didn’t even take them to my wife. I didn’t even bring them up.
“But when this came up and Coach O called, it was about 30 seconds before I went to my wife and I was nervous. I went up to her and said, LSU wants to talk here tomorrow about me going back there. I thought she was going to lay into me saying are you crazy? She looked at me and said, ‘you’re going to talk right?’”
LSU's assistant coaching staff was somewhat depleted this offseason following the national title run. Coach O made a big move to bring Pelini back to the Tigers.
“This place is special to me and I feel like it’s my second home. To me it’s about the culture. Obviously, Coach O’s culture and the culture here at LSU with the things he represents and the things this program represents, with the winning and all that. But the culture of the state, the people, the work ethic, I just always felt at home here.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people and they say, ‘what’s the most special place you’ve worked?’ And I say LSU. And the reason why was because the kids from Louisiana, they set the culture in the program with the way they work and they were brought up the right way in the sport and at home and they set the culture. It doesn’t matter how many kids you bring in from out-of-state, they all basically fall in or the Louisiana kids are going to show you the door.
“It’s an honor for me to be back here.”
LSU will look to follow up its national title season in 2019 with another elite year in 2020. It'll be tough without Joe Burrow behind center, but Coach O is doing everything he can to keep the Tigers close to the mountaintop. And he'll have Pelini helping him along the way.