Second Coming of Sorts: Petrino Back at Louisville
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The leaks were designed to give the announcement a soft landing.
That's because former Louisville, Atlanta Falcons, and Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino is going back to Louisville as their head coach after the Cardinals lost Charlie Strong to Texas last weekend.
Petrino, of course, made his name at Louisville, pulling them out of football obscurity and even winning a BCS bowl before suddenly jumping ship to the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. That would have been understandable, but he did it after signing a $25million contract and professing his commitment to the school. Then, he topped that exit by bailing on the Falcons before the season ended, leaving only a note for each player. At the time, Arkansas didn't care.
Petrino did lead the Hogs to their first and only BCS appearance, which was the Sugar Bowl game they lost against Ohio State. Still, he rang up a 34-17 record in Fayetteville.
But this dude can't live life if it's not on the edge. That same year, it was discovered that Petrino was having an affair with a former Arkansas volleyball player who was definitely not a Hog. And not content with a discrete bit on the side, he pulled rank and got her a cushy job in the athletic department, which isn't too cool on the public dime. True to his character, he then lied about it to the Arkansas administration after the motorcycle accident that broke the entire scenario open.
Ultimately, it was the fact he used university funds to hire his mistress for a position in the athletic department that got him fired.
As the Arkansas administration put it, Petrino showed "a pattern of misleading behavior." That's an understatement.
Petrino ended up at Western Kentucky this season, leading them to an 8-4 record this season.
It's no surprise, then, that the Louisville athletic department wanted to get a few feelers out there before releasing anything official. His first stint there and his results with the Hilltoppers had a good number of Cardinals fans ready to forgive. Others, though, not so much. Leopards and spots, you know.
Maybe with all the advance notice, any protestations will have been muted. At least, that's the hope.
And it's the start to what looks to be a crazy off-season.