BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) - Florida Atlantic wants Carl Pelini to be its next head football coach and the Nebraska defensive coordinator is expected to accept the task of turning the program around, according to a person familiar with the decision.
Pelini is expected to be introduced as Howard Schnellenberger's replacement with the Owls on Monday, the person told The Associated Press on Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no contract has been signed and negotiations are not expected to be "totally done'' until the weekend.
Schnellenberger is retiring after FAU's season-finale on Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe. The school has a number of tributes planned for Schnellenberger over the weekend.
Carl Pelini is the brother of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini. Terms of Pelini's deal have not been finalized, though he and his representatives are expected to work through that process over the weekend. Carl Pelini did not immediately return a message from The AP seeking comment on Friday.
When Carl Pelini arrived at Nebraska in 2008, he inherited a defense that ranked 112th - out of 119 ranked teams - nationally the previous season in yards allowed. Under Pelini's direction, the Cornhuskers ranked 55th in 2008, seventh in 2009 and 11th in 2010 in total defense, and are currently 36th in that department nationally this season.
Widely considered to be an outstanding recruiter, Pelini has never been a head coach at anything above the high school level. His last prep job was in his native Ohio in 2002, before becoming a graduate assistant for Nebraska's defense in 2003. He was Minnesota State's defensive coordinator in 2004, an assistant at Ohio from 2005-07 and then moved back to Nebraska in 2008.
He played two seasons at Columbia before transferring to Youngstown State, where he completed a degree in English literature. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Kansas State and another in education from Ohio State.
When Schnellenberger announced his retirement before the season, FAU athletic director Craig Angelos said that he wanted to have a coach in place shortly after the 2011 campaign ended. At the time, Angelos said he wanted to make every effort to ensure the transition from Schnellenberger to the next coach was smooth, adding that the longer FAU waited, the more daunting it would be for the new coach to assemble a staff and a 2012 recruiting class.
Angelos has been working on finding a replacement for Schnellenberger since, his efforts ramping up over the past two months.
FAU opened a new on-campus stadium this season, which Schnellenberger called "the last piece of the puzzle'' for the Owls. Under Schnellenberger, who was hired by FAU in 1998 to start a football program - the school's first-ever practice was two years later - the Owls made the Division I-AA national semifinals in 2003, then transitioned to college football's top level.
FAU won the Sun Belt title in 2007, along with the New Orleans Bowl that season and the Motor City Bowl the next.