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Bowling Green hires Carl Pelini as defensive coordinator

Carl Pelini is heading to Bowling Green to serve as defensive coordinator. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

After three seasons as an assistant on his brother Bo Pelini’s staff at Youngstown State, Carl Pelini is returning to the FBS level.

Bowling Green coach Mike Jinks announced Tuesday that he has hired Pelini as the Falcons’ defensive coordinator, the same position he held at Youngstown State. Pelini helped the Penguins reach the FCS national title game in 2016 and, in 2017, average the fewest points allowed (19.1) in more than 10 years. The Penguins led the FCS in passing yards allowed, giving up just 143.7 yards per game through the air.

At Bowling Green, Pelini inherits a unit that was one of the worst in the country in 2017. The Falcons ranked No. 125 (of 129 teams) in total defense, allowing an average of 506.6 yards per game.

“I am extremely excited to become part of the Bowling Green Falcon coaching staff, Bowling Green State University, and the community at large,” Pelini said. “I would like to thank Coach Jinks, the staff and the administration for all their help in making this opportunity become reality. I look forward to working with the young men in the program, and to developing a passionate, physical brand of defense that will define us from this point forward.”

Added Jinks: “We’re excited to have someone with Carl’s experience on our staff. We looked for someone who has called defense at the highest level. He’s an Ohio guy and if we’re going to continue to recruit at a high level, it has to begin at home. He is an asset to what we are trying to do in Ohio. He’s been in the MAC and his scheme is proven to succeed.”

Before his time at Youngstown, Pelini was the head coach at Florida Atlantic and the defensive coordinator at Nebraska from 2008 to 2011 when Bo was the Huskers’ head coach. Carl’s tenure at Florida Atlantic, where he had a 5-15, came to an end during the 2013 season after allegations of illegal drug use surfaced. He denied the allegations and filed a defamation lawsuit against the former FAU assistant who said he witnessed Pelini using cocaine and marijuana. FAU later said Pelini was terminated for failing to “timely report certain conduct” of a member of his staff.

Pelini also spent time coaching at Ohio, Minnesota-Mankato and Kansas State and coached at the high school level from 1993 to 2002.

The 2018 season will be the third at Bowling Green for Jinks. In his first two years, the Falcons are just 6-18.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!