LINCOLN, Neb. — The number of wins and losses didn’t get Bo Pelini fired. It was the way some of those losses happened.

Pelini was dismissed as Nebraska’s coach Sunday after a seven-year stint marked by an inability to restore the football team to national prominence and too many embarrassing defeats.

Pelini extended his streak of winning at least nine games every season with a 37-34 overtime win at Iowa on Friday, but he never won a conference championship and his teams lost four games in every season he completed. Pelini was 66-27 and led the Cornhuskers to three league championship games in the Big 12 and Big Ten.

“I didn’t see enough improvement in areas that were important for us to move forward to play championship-caliber football,” athletic director Shawn Eichorst said.

“We just, for whatever reason, weren’t good enough in the games that mattered against championship-caliber opponents. And I didn’t see that changing. It wasn’t a lack of effort by him or his staff or our wonderful players, but I think new leadership was in order.”

Associate head coach Barney Cotton will be the interim head coach for the Cornhuskers’ bowl game.

Pelini was under contract through February 2019. Eichorst said the university will owe him a settlement of about $7.9 million, which can be reduced once he lands another job.

Asked for comment on Sunday’s developments, Pelini wrote in a text to The Associated Press: “I’m good. Thanks for asking!”

Eichorst said he alone would conduct the search for a new coach. He gave no timetable for naming a replacement.

Nebraska joins Florida as a high-profile program with a coaching vacancy, and others could arise soon. Eichorst said he wasn’t worried about competing with other schools.

“Resources are not the question here at Nebraska,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’re not going to be responsible and good stewards of our resources. I’ve seen people spend a lot of money and not do very much winning, so we’re going to get it right.”

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