LSU hires former Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini as defensive coordinator

LSU’s next defensive coordinator will be a familiar face. 

The Tigers are bringing in Youngstown State head coach Bo Pelini to replace Dave Aranda, LSU on Monday. After helping LSU win the national championship, Aranda left Baton Rouge to become the head coach at Baylor.

Sports Illustrated reported that Pelini has agreed to a multi-year deal at LSU that will pay him “around $2 million” per year.

"We are privileged to have one of the top defensive coordinators in all of football in Bo Pelini join our staff," LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said. "Bo has had some of the best defenses in football during his career and we are looking forward to him bringing his tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise back to LSU to continue to win championships."

Youngstown State head coach Bo Pelini leads his team on to the field before an NCAA football game between the Pittsburgh and the Youngstown State Penguins, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Pelini, of course, had a tumultuous seven-year run as the head coach at Nebraska from 2008-14. Pelini led the Huskers to a 67-27 record over that span and oversaw the program’s transition from the Big 12 to Big Ten. However, Pelini was fired by then-Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst after a 9-3 record in 2014. 

From there, the fiery Pelini went back to his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, to become the head coach at Youngstown State. He led the Penguins to the FCS championship game in his second year, but has not been able to regain that level of success. Overall, Pelini had a 33-28 in five seasons at YSU. 

"The past five years have been terrific. I can't thank President Jim Tressel and Ron Strollo enough for the opportunity here and support along the way,” Pelini said. “For all of the people, honestly too many to name, who were part of my YSU experience, I also want to extend a heartfelt thank you.The experience for me professionally to coach my hometown university and to appear in a championship game, is something I will always treasure.”

Now he will be returning to LSU for his second stint as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator. The 52-year-old Pelini was Les Miles’ DC from 2005-07 before getting the Nebraska job. Pelini’s LSU defenses finished No. 3 nationally in total defense in each of his three seasons as coordinator, including the national title-winning 2007 season. 

"The opportunity to return to LSU is truly unique. Culturally, with my prior experience at LSU, I know it is a great fit for me,” Pelini said. “The chance to work with Coach Orgeron, the ability to take charge of the Tigers defense. All of that in a place that both my family and I immensely enjoyed when we were there before is very exciting for us.  We are very honored and looking forward to this next chapter."

At LSU, Pelini inherits a defense that just lost five starters — cornerback Kristian Fulton, linebackers K’Lavon Chaisson, Jacob Phillips and Patrick Queen and safety Grant Delpit — to the NFL, but is still full of talent. That talent is led by cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., who earned All-American honors as a true freshman.

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