Defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis first became familiar with FAU's football program in 2002. (OwlAccess.com photo)
FAU defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis was impressed the first time he saw FAU when he was the defensive coordinator at Youngstown State in 2002.
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BOCA RATON - Florida Atlantic made an impression on defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis long before he became the Owls' defensive coordinator,
Rekstis had his first contact with the Owls in 2002, when he was a defensive coordinator at Youngstown State. He remembers installing the Penguins' gameplan against the Owls, then a second-year Division I-AA program.
“I remember doing the scouting on them when I was at Youngstown State and thinking to myself this place had the potential to be really special,” Rekstis said. “They had really come along way in s short time. They did a nice job.”
FAU lost to Youngstown State 24-17 in 2002 but the Owls defeated the Penguins 13-6 a year later in Youngstown, Ohio.
Rekstis, most recently the defensive coordinator at Miami-Ohio, was thinking about those games when he Owls coach Carl Pelini called in January about the open defensive coordinator position.
“When I came down here and interviewed and saw the campus and the athletic facilities I just thought the sky is the limit,” Rekstis said.
Pelini also respected Rekstis' work as the coordinator at Kent State from 2006-10.
"He'd been very, very successful with his defenses," Pelini said. "Kent St. isn't an easy place to coach. He had the No. 1 defense in the league most of the years he was there. That's saying a lot."
Rekstis took the job after FAU's original defensive coordinator Marvin Sanders bolted for Southern Cal following a few weeks on the job. He didn't have very long to get ready for spring practice, but liked what he saw.
“I was very pleased with the group after we came back after the spring game,” Rekstis said. “This is a group that is hungry and wants to win.”