Fans, players, students, and faculty alike at Florida Atlantic University were stunned in late October when they learned of the resignation of their head coach, Carl Pelini, and defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis, who both admitted to illegal drug use after they were shown highly incriminating evidence.
Pat Chun, the University’s athletic director, confirmed with students and journalists that Pelini and Rekstis were the only coaches leaving the school and that all other football coaches were set to remain on the staff. Upon leaving the school, both resigning coaches were escorted away by police officers, although they were not arrested. Chun clarified that the police escorts are simply standard procedure any time a faculty member is dismissed.
Pellini Attempts to Rescind His Resignation
About a week after announcing his resignation, Pellini attempted to get his old coaching position back. He spoke publicly about the fact that he did not feel he had much say in his decision to resign, and actually felt that his resignation was forced.
He cites legal grounds in his belief that he should be allowed to keep his job, arguing that his attorney would not have wanted him to agree to the resignation. Pellini noted that when he was questioned about his alleged drug use, he requested legal counsel, but was denied it.
Many Staff Surrounding Pellini Witnessed Drug Use
The allegations surrounding Pellini’s drug use were brought about after more than one co-worker reported to Chun that they had either witnessed Pellini using drugs or heard him state that he was in fact using. Defensive line coach Matt Edwards submitted an affidavit to the school proclaiming that he had seen Pellini abuse both marijuana and cocaine in the previous twelve months.
Another affidavit was signed by Allison Stewart, an associate of the football program, who attested that she had witnessed the coach admitting to his drug use. When Pellini was initially confronted by the athletic director, he reportedly agreed to take a drug test, but subsequently refused to after he was told the test would need to be taken immediately.
Side Effects of Cocaine Abuse
When a person is abusing cocaine, they often exhibit severe changes in their behavior. Side effects such as anger, paranoia, and mood swings are very common, particularly as the drug wears off and a user comes down from their high.
While a person is experiencing the peak effects of cocaine, they may experience euphoria and a heightened sense of confidence. When a person is using this drug or most drugs, their judgement generally becomes less reliable, and most experts agree that drug users of any kind are not suitable to be in positions of authority while they are actively using.
Denial Very Common Among Addicts
Pellini’s claims that he was asked to resign in error could possibly be indicative the fact that he is in denial about the severity of his addiction. It is not at all uncommon for addicts to exhibit signs of denial at some point in their addiction. When a person is dependent on a substance like cocaine, their brain’s reward receptors become so used to receiving the reward of a drug high that their brain chemistry is altered and an addict becomes neurologically programmed to find more drugs at any cost.
Denial is the brain’s defense mechanism when trying to handle drug abuse. If an addict can make themselves and the people around them believe that they do not have a problem, they will be able to continue their use uninterrupted. Only when an addict realizes that they do have a problem can they decide to do something about it.