- Associated Press - Sunday, November 27, 2016

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) - Charlie Partridge is out at Florida Atlantic, after all three of his seasons leading the Owls ended with 3-9 records.

The school made the announcement Sunday, one day after FAU’s season ended with a 77-56 loss to Middle Tennessee. The Owls ranked 124th out of 128 teams at the FBS level in total defense this season, giving up more than 500 yards per game.

FAU has not been to a bowl game since making back-to-back appearances under Howard Schnellenberger in 2007 and 2008. Since those bowl years, FAU is 28-67.

“He created a culture here,” FAU vice president and athletic director Patrick Chun said Sunday after meeting in the afternoon with some players, many of whom were upset with the decision. “We have a football program filled with student-athletes that understand the year-round commitment needed not only at the FBS level of football but for success in life. He operated with integrity and class from Day One.”

The Owls lost seven consecutive games at one point this season, including a four-game stretch in which FAU lost each time by six points or fewer.

This was the first head coaching stint for Partridge, a South Florida native who came to the Owls after assistant coaching stints at Drake, Iowa State, Eastern Illinois, Pitt, Wisconsin and Arkansas.

“The only piece of the puzzle he did not complete was on game day,” Chun said. “I believe perspective and time will be very kind to Charlie Partridge. He has left the football program 180 degrees better than when he found it.”

Partridge had two years remaining on a five-year, $2.7 million contract he signed in 2013. He was hired to replace Carl Pelini, who resigned midway through the 2013 season after FAU said he acknowledged using illegal drugs - something Pelini denied.

Chun said the search for a new coach is already underway, adding that he expects plenty of schools from major conferences to consider adding Partridge to their staffs.

“We’ll find the best possible coach to lead us,” Chun said.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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