Bobby Petrino Is a Changed Man, According to Bobby Petrino
Louisville hired Petrino—a former Cards coach from 2003-06—to a seven-year, $24.5 million deal on Wednesday following one season with Western Kentucky (finishing 8-4).
To refresh your memory, this is the same guy that dipped out on Louisville following an Orange Bowl win to coach the Atlanta Falcons, only to leave their organization 13 games into the NFL season to coach with Arkansas.
“I’ve made mistakes,” said Petrino during today’s 30-minute introductory press conference. “I’ve made mistakes both professionally and personally. It’s something I’m not going to do again. The first mistake was ever leaving the University of Louisville. I’m sorry about that. I hope the fans and everybody can forgive me for when I left here. … It’s good to be back home.”
He of course was fired in April of 2012 when caught having an adulterous relationship with “student-athlete development coordinator” Jessica Dorrell. You know, the infamous motorcycle accident and well-known neck brace picture.
Petrino spent that year out of coaching, but was bound to get another shot at a mid-major program in need of a recruiting boost. The Hilltoppers were a good fit, but I don’t think even they knew a major school would have interest in giving Petrino a chance so quickly.
“I’m different in a lot of ways,” he said. “There are a lot of things that have changed. First and foremost, I keep my focus and concentration on my family and making sure everything I do has my family in mind. One of the things that has changed so much as a coach and dealing with the student-athlete is that I coach the person as much or more than I ever have. Not just the player.”
In comes Louisville, coming off a 12-win season and is preparing to enter the Atlantic Coastal Conference. Is Petrino really what your program needs right now?
Athletic director Tom Jurich thinks so, and his opinion is the only one that really matters.
“The one thing I believe in is forgiveness,” Jurich said. “Bobby has convinced me he’s a changed man. I told Bobby, the coach I hired eight years ago is not the coach I want to hire. I want the new Bobby Petrino. I’ve been assured by the most important one in his life, his wife Becky, that I’ve got a new Bobby Petrino. That’s important to me.”
While Petrino may not be the ideal role model, there’s no doubting his coaching abilities. In nine seasons in the collegiates, he’s compiled a 83-30 record with four bowl wins in seven appearances.
For Louisville, it may want to consider retaining Charlie Strong’s “five core values” for the 2014 season, with the first being “honesty.” But then again, that might be why it slipped a $10 million buyout into the contract.
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