March 10, 1961 |
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Carroll (MT) (GA)
Weber State (GA)
Carroll (MT) (OC)
Weber State (WR/TE)
Arizona State (QB)
Utah State (OC)
Jacksonville Jaguars (QB)
Jacksonville Jaguars (OC)
|Head coaching record|
College Football Data Warehouse
|Accomplishments and honors|
1 C-USA (2004)
1 Big East (2006)
Robert P. "Bobby" Petrino (born March 10, 1961) is an American football coach, currently the head coach at Western Kentucky University. He was the head coach at the University of Arkansas from 2008 to 2011, until his dismissal in the spring of 2012 for having an "inappropriate relationship" with a female employee. He also coached the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL for part of the 2007 season, and was the head coach at the University of Louisville from 2003 to 2006. Prior to that, he spent 20 years as an assistant coach in the collegiate and professional ranks initiating an ongoing record of never recording a fifth year of employment within the same organization.
- 1 Early years
- 2 College coaching career
- 3 Pro coaching career
- 4 Head coaching record
- 5 Personal life
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Born in Lewistown, Montana, Petrino grew up in Helena and graduated from Capital High in 1979. He attended hometown Carroll College and graduated with a physical education and a math minor in 1983. While at Carroll, he played quarterback for the Fighting Saints and began his coaching career there as a graduate assistant during the 1983 season.
College coaching career
Carroll and Weber State
After a year at Carroll, he moved to Weber State College in the Big Sky Conference, coaching quarterbacks as a graduate assistant under head coach Mike Price. Petrino returned to his alma mater in 1985 as offensive coordinator. In each of his two seasons in that position, Carroll had the top-rated offense in NAIA football. He then returned to Weber State for two seasons in 1987 and 1988 as the receivers coach under Price, who left for Washington State in 1989.
Idaho and Arizona State
Petrino spent a year as quarterbacks coach at the University of Idaho in 1989 under new head coach John L. Smith, then was promoted to offensive coordinator. In 1992, he took a step up the collegiate coaching ladder to Division I-A (now FBS) when he became quarterbacks coach at Arizona State University in the Pac-10 Conference. During his two seasons at ASU under head coach Bruce Snyder, he oversaw the development of future All-American QB Jake Plummer, who went on to play ten seasons in the NFL.
Nevada and Utah State
In 1995 he moved to the University of Nevada, serving as both offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Chris Ault. During his one season there, the Wolf Pack were second in the nation in both passing offense and total offense, and third in scoring offense. The next year he began a three-year stint as offensive coordinator at Utah State University, reuniting with Smith.
When Smith moved to Louisville in 1998, Petrino followed him there as offensive coordinator. In his one season there, the Cardinals were top-ranked in Division I-A in scoring and total offense and posted the biggest positive turnaround among I-A football teams, winning six more games than in the 1997 season. Petrino left the collegiate ranks to coach in the NFL for three years. His place at Louisville was filled by Scott Linehan.
Auburn and Return to Louisville
In 2002, Petrino returned to the college ranks, replacing Noel Mazzone as offensive coordinator under Tommy Tuberville at Auburn, whose offense significantly improved that season. He returned to Louisville in 2003 as head coach. After only one season at Louisville, Petrino secretly interviewed for the coaching job at Auburn, even though the Tigers had made no decision on whether to retain his mentor, Tuberville.
In four years at Louisville, Petrino built the Cardinals into a national power. He led them to 11 wins in 2004 and 12 wins in 2006—only the second and third times that the Cardinals won as many as 11 games in a season.
On July 13, 2006, Petrino signed a 10-year, $25.6 million contract to stay on as head football coach. The deal gave Petrino a raise from $1 million to $1.6 million annually, and he would have been paid $2.6 million in the final year of the deal. The contract included a buyout clause of $1 million.
The Falcons brought Petrino to Atlanta by signing him to a five year, $24 million contract. Six weeks before the season, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indefinitely suspended the team's star quarterback, Michael Vick, for his involvement in the Bad Newz Kennels dog fighting investigation. On August 20, Vick plead guilty to the related charges. Originally brought in to help develop Vick, Petrino entered the season with back-ups Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich, and Chris Redman as his quarterbacks
Petrino coached the Falcons for the first 13 games of their 2007 season. Hours after the team's 34-13, December 10 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, Petrino resigned from his job to accept the head coaching position with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Petrino notified the Falcon players of his decision by leaving identical four-sentence notes in their lockers. Atlanta players such as Keith Brooking and DeAngelo Hall criticized Petrino for leaving in the middle of the season.
Petrino's contract with Arkansas was valued at $2.85 million per year for five years.
The Razorbacks under Bobby Petrino showed significant improvement in the 2009 season with analysts from both ESPN and CBS regularly citing starting quarterback Ryan Mallett as one of the most impressive collegiate quarterbacks in the country. The Razorbacks came close to upsetting the #1-ranked University of Florida Gators on October 19, 2009. That game culminated in a controversial 4th quarter personal foul call on an Arkansas lineman. The resulting 15-yard penalty allowed the Gators to continue what turned out to be their game-winning drive. The SEC ultimately issued an apology for the call and suspended the officiating crew.
The Razorbacks also enjoyed success under Petrino in the 2010 season finishing 10–2 and notching their first BCS bowl appearance against Ohio State. In the All State Sugar Bowl, Ohio State built an early lead behind the play of Terrell Pryor and Boom Herron, but Arkansas came back in the second half. As the Razorbacks were driving for a go-ahead score in the final minutes, Ryan Mallett threw an interception near the Ohio State 20-yard line, and Ohio State ran out the clock.
The Razorbacks won the 2012 Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas, defeating Kansas State by a score of 29-16. The "Hogs" concluded the 2011 season with an 11-2 record, with their only losses to Alabama and LSU. It was just the third 11-win season in Arkansas' 119-year football history.
Motorcycle incident and subsequent scandal
In April 2012, Petrino was involved in a motorcycle crash in Arkansas while sliding off Highway 16 near Crosses. He was riding with former Arkansas All-SEC volleyball player Jessica Dorrell, whom he had hired on March 28 as the student-athlete development coordinator for the football program after serving as a fundraiser in the Razorback Foundation. Petrino initially said he was alone. However, on April 6, just minutes before a police report was to be released showing Dorrell was also aboard, Petrino revealed that Dorrell was not only a passenger, but that he had been conducting an adulterous relationship with her. Athletic director Jeff Long placed Petrino on an indefinite paid leave of absence while he reviewed the situation.
On April 10, Long announced that Petrino had been fired. During Long's investigation, it was discovered that Petrino made a previously undisclosed $20,000 cash gift to Dorrell as a Christmas present. It was also revealed that Dorrell may have received preferential treatment in her hiring to the football staff, as Petrino's relationship with Dorrell was not disclosed and Petrino was on the hiring committee. Long determined that Petrino's attempts to mislead both him and the public about the accident and his relationship with Dorrell were grounds to fire Petrino for cause. Long also determined that the $20,000 payment could expose Arkansas to a sexual harassment suit if Petrino were retained. Petrino was succeeded by his mentor, Smith, who had been the Arkansas special teams coach before briefly taking the head coaching job at Weber State.
Public apologies: “Making things right with my family”
In July, Petrino contacted Smith and members of his former team, including quarterback Tyler Wilson, who said the outreach provided "a little closure." Running back Knile Davis said, "He apologized. He said, 'I’m sorry for everything that happened.' ... He was very humble. He was very hurt. I told him not to be so hard on himself. I told him, 'You made a mistake. You’ll get back from it.'" Smith's phone call with Petrino "was basically about our football team at Arkansas, of which he's always concerned about."
In August 2012, Petrino sat down for a video interview with ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad to express remorse and regret, saying there was “no justification” for his decisions. He said, “I take responsibility for it and I am really sorry. I have played it over and over in my head a million times. How could I do this? How could this happen? And not just the hiring. Or that day. But my actions, my behavior -- for months it was just wrong. I'm working hard to save my marriage. I'm working one day at a time. I want to stay married. That's my main priority right now. Making things right with my family. ... I've made mistakes and I'm going to be a better person for it. ... I think I've got to take this one day at a time, continue to improve as a person and as a husband. I'm also going to continue to work on football. And I just hope and pray that I get that opportunity again.”
He continued, "I've made mistakes and I'm going to be a better person for it. I'm going to keep my life in better balance. And I really feel I'll be a better coach because this happened, because now I know that I'm going to coach the person as much as the player and help the person who has made mistakes, help him understand that he is not going to be defined by the mistakes he has made but how he reacts to it and overcomes it."
On December 10, 2012, Western Kentucky hired Petrino as their new head coach, replacing Willie Taggart, who departed for South Florida. Petrino signed a four-year contract with a base salary of $850,000 annually. If Petrino leaves at anytime during the contract period he must re-pay the university $1.2 million in six monthly payments starting the month after he leaves.
Pro coaching career
Petrino's first stint in the NFL was 1999–2001, as he spent two seasons as the quarterbacks coach and a third as offensive coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Petrino was praised as an offensive mastermind. Tom Coughlin, then head coach of the Jaguars, called Petrino “the best play-caller I've ever been around.”
After five seasons as a college assistant and head coach, Petrino returned to the NFL on January 7, 2007, accepting an offer to become the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. His contract in Atlanta paid him $24 million over five years.
Petrino was brought in primarily to make star quarterback Michael Vick into a more complete quarterback. However, before Petrino's first training camp, it emerged that Vick had bankrolled an illegal dog fighting operation near his hometown in Newport News, Virginia. The terms of Vick's bail barred him from leaving Virginia before the November 26 trial.
With their franchise quarterback effectively sidelined for the season, the Falcons appeared to be a rudderless team. On December 10, 2007, with the Falcons languishing in the NFC South cellar with a 3-10 record, Petrino resigned to take the job at Arkansas. Petrino informed his players of his decision to resign via a four-sentence laminated note left at the locker of each player. This caused some retribution with some of his staff as well, including former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Zimmer was very outspoken in the media with regards to Petrino's leaving in the middle of the night without communicating with his team or coaches of his decision to leave the Falcons. In 2009, Zimmer called Petrino "gutless" and said he hadn't spoken with Petrino since Petrino informed him of the decision.
Head coaching record
|Louisville Cardinals (Conference USA) (2003–2004)|
|Louisville Cardinals (Big East Conference) (2005–2006)|
|Arkansas Razorbacks (Southeastern Conference) (2008–2011)|
|2009||Arkansas||8–5||3–5||T-4th (West)||W Liberty|
|2010||Arkansas||10–3||6–2||T–2nd (West)||L Sugar†||12||12|
|2011||Arkansas||11–2||6–2||3rd (West)||W Cotton||5||5|
|Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Sun Belt Conference) (2013–present)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|†Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
|2007||Atlanta Falcons||3–10||4th NFC South|
Petrino has two sons and two daughters with his wife, Becky. His oldest daughter, Kelsey, graduated from the University of Louisville, his oldest son, Nick, currently attends Louisville. His youngest son, Bobby Jr., attends the University of Arkansas and his youngest daughter, Katie, is a redshirt sophomore on Louisville's golf team. He also has one grandchild.  Petrino's younger brother Paul is the head football coach at Idaho.
- Bobby Petrino University of Louisville, accessed January 16, 2008
- Dan Wolken, Western Kentucky hires Bobby Petrino to coach football, USA TODAY, December 10, 2012.
- "Arkansas Razorbacks fire Bobby Petrino as coach". ESPN. April 11, 2012.
- "Bobby Petrino Personnel File" (PDF). University of Arkansas. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
- "All-Time Coaching Records". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
- "Bobby Petrino Biography". SEC Sports Fan. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
- Bobby Petrino Bio The Orange Bowl, accessed January 16, 2008
- "Auburn wants Tuberville to return in 2004 - College Football - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2003-11-27. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
- Crawford, Eric. (2006-07-13) Louisville's Petrino signs 10-year contract. Usatoday.Com. Retrieved on 2011-11-14.
- Falcons hire Petrino as new coach. AccessNorthGa (2007-01-07). Retrieved on 2011-11-14.
- Arkansas vs. Florida - Recap - October 17, 2009 - College Football - SI.com
- floridatoday.com | Gators Sports Scene | Florida Today's Gators Blog
- "Ark. puts Bobby Petrino on leave". ESPN. April 5, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- "Ark. Puts Petrino On Paid Leave Following Crash". KHBS. April 5, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- Bobby Petrino detailed affair to AD. ESPN, 2012-04-20.
- Bahn: Petrino Apology To Razorbacks A Step Toward His Return To The Field. arkansassports360.com. July 18, 2012
- Bobby Petrino reaches out. ESPN.com. July 18, 2012
- Presenters: Joe Schad (2012-08-10). "Bobby Petrino Sorry For Actions". 4:07 minutes in. ESPN. http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:8251229.
- Bobby Petrino emotional, regretful. ESPN.com. August 10, 2012
- "Bobby Petrino is new WKU football coach". WDRB 41 Louisville.
- "Western Kentucky hires Bobby Petrino as coach". FOX Sports on MSN.
- "Bobby Petrino hired as head coach of Western Kentucky Hilltoppers". ESPN.
- Falcons nab Louisville's Petrino to succeed Mora. Sports.espn.go.com (2007-01-08). Retrieved on 2011-11-14.
- Sources: Petrino leaving NFL for Arkansas job ESPN.com, 11 December 2007.
- Petrino resigns as Falcons coach FOX Sports, 11 December 2007.
- "Mike Zimmer rips Bobby Petrino". ESPN. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- Katie Petrino Profile - Louisville Cardinals Official Athletic Site
- "Bobby Petrino: Beyond Football – The Arkansas Traveler". Uatrav.com. 2010-10-27. Retrieved 2012-05-15.