|Chris O'Meara/Associated Press|
|Former Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini is now denying that he used illegal drugs.|
Former Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini said he has not used drugs and that he wants to be reinstated as coach.
Pelini relayed that message Thursday in a statement issued to ESPN.
Pelini and Owls defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis resigned last week after athletic director Patrick Chun said he confronted them with reports of illegal drug use. Later, affidavits showed that defensive line coach Matt Edwards told school officials that he had seen Pelini and Rekstis use marijuana and cocaine in the past year. Specifically, the affidavit said Edwards had seen Pelini smoke marijuana in Key West, Fla., on Oct. 19, a Saturday on which FAU was idle.
The affidavits were notarized and state that they were provided at the request of Chun "to assist him with an investigation."
Chun said last week that Pelini acknowledged use of "illegal drugs" before he resigned.
But in the statement he issued Thursday, Pelini said he denied using drugs to Chun on Oct. 30, but was told by Chun that it was "irrelevant" because he was "being relieved" of his duties "for failure to supervise my staff." Pelini indicated Chun told him at least one staff member admitted using drugs in the coach's presence, but Pelini denied knowledge that "any staff member was using illegal drugs."
Last week, Chun told reporters he gave Pelini and Rekstis an opportunity to take drug tests but they declined. In his statement, Pelini said he did offer to take a drug test.
Chun on Thursday told ESPN he has "ample evidence" that was presented to each coach and also said Pelini "voluntarily resigned" and "refused to cooperate in the investigation."
Pelini was in his second season at FAU. In a statement released by the school the day of his resignation, Pelini said, "I apologize for exercising poor judgment."
Edwards is in his first season at FAU. He was hired off the staff at Miami (Ohio), where he had worked with Rekstis; he also worked with Rekstis at Kent State.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.