The fall of Bobby Petrino: a long time coming
As promised, I’m continuing with my posts on the Bobby Petrino scandal. This time, I’ll focus on the man himself.
Since his story has been beaten to death throughout the sports media, I won’t go into any great detail. However, as I see it, it’s yet another example of that cautionary saying: character matters.
Pat Forde published a great piece showing just what kind of a fellow Arkansas hired. Now, without further ado… Bobby Petrino’s Greatest Hits!
2003: Petrino is hired by Louisville from Auburn, where he had been offensive coordinator under Tommy Tuberville. However, Auburn decided Tuberville wasn’t winning enough for them, especially against Alabama, and started quietly looking for a new coach. Very quietly.
Enter Petrino. Auburn officials take a flight to a small airport across the river from Louisville, where Petrino meets them… while both teams’ seasons are still going on. And two days before Auburn’s biggest game of the season, the Iron Bowl against Alabama.
So, we have Petrino going behind the back of Tom Jurich (U of L athletic director) and Tuberville (his former boss). Not to mention Auburn going behind the back of Tuberville. But wait, it gets better. Petrino continues to deny that he had met with Auburn until two reporters for The Courier-Journal (Louisville’s daily paper), one of them Forde, present him with proof of the flight… and Auburn finally owns up to its role in the affair.
2004: You would think Petrino would have learned a lesson from this. But no… he met with Notre Dame officials during the season, at the same airport, about their coaching job. He also met with Florida and Ole Miss during the season.
At the end of the season, he pledged his loyalty to U of L, and signed a contract extension. The ink was barely dry before he went behind Jurich’s back yet again to interview with LSU. He then made a big show of withdrawing from consideration… after it was obvious LSU would hire Les Miles.
2005: Petrino says he has no interest in the NFL, but interviews with the Oakland Raiders. Do we see a pattern here?
2006: Petrino signs a 10-year contract with U of L, and insists on adding a $1 million buyout clause. Five months later, after one of the greatest seasons in the school’s football history, he leaves for the Atlanta Falcons.
2007: Petrino leaves the Falcons with three games left in the season without telling his players. He is announced as the new head coach at Arkansas the next day. Sure, his time in Atlanta was during the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal… but running out on a head coaching job during the season is very bad juju.
The pattern appears to be that of a person who’s out mainly for himself, no matter who he steps on along the way. Given that behavior, it should be no surprise that Petrino admitted to an extramarital affair—or that he was found to be communicating with at least one other woman. Lest we forget, both women are about the age of his oldest children.
I don’t have any personal animosity toward Petrino. I hope he can work out his issues, preferably away from the public eye. But, his fall from grace should be a warning to all of us—and a reminder that, to borrow a phrase from Amir, the Law of Sowing and Reaping shall not be up for repeal any time soon.