Former Nebraska football head coach Bo Pelini is the worst coach a retiring college football referee had the displeasure of working with. That’s one of the key points Don Capron wanted to get across when he sat down for an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
Capron is calling it a career after decades as a college football official. He retires near the top of his profession, having worked several National Championship and playoff games. Despite being considered one of the best around, Capron admitted he made mistakes during games, as every referee has. During his interview, he talked about some of the coaches that were quick to point out those mistakes and make his life miserable. Bo Pelini wasn’t the only head coach he disliked working for. The former Husker head coach and current LSU defensive coordinator just stood out from the crowd thanks to his antics.
“The worst coach I’ve ever worked for, ever, not even close, no one within 10 miles, is Bo Pelini.”
After relaying his displeasure with Pelini, Capron explained just one of his run-ins. It was during a Nebraska game against the Purdue Boilermakers. Nebraska was heavily favored over Purdue, who was coached by Darrell Hazell at the time. Capron went out of his way to add Hazell was a total gentleman as a stark contrast to the Cornhuskers’ coach.
Capron said there was one incident in that Nebraska game where his crew couldn’t agree whether Purdue or the Huskers recovered a fumble. It was first called for the Boilermakers, then the Cornhuskers and eventually Pelini’s team was credited with possession.
Despite his team coming out on top in that debacle, Capron said “Coach P” screamed at him that he would “have his job.” After the game, which NU won, Capron said he asked the members of his officiating crew whether he should call his boss and tell him about what happened. The retiring referee said his boss didn’t like to be surprised by such things. He said he did eventually call the lead official, just four minutes after the crew got into the stadium and Bo Pelini was already on the other line.
Capron was then asked about the time Pelini swung his hat at an official and almost hit him. That was in a separate Nebraska football game. He didn’t go into a long discussion about that incident but he did tell the paper it was “so out of line.”
Capron hasn’t had to deal with Pelini in the last few years because the former NU coach has been working down on the FCS level, leading the Youngstown State Penguins. Because of his retirement, it appears their paths will never cross again.