Placed on paid administrative leave five days ago — after flat-out covering up and/or lying to his bosses about the presence of a female UA football employee as a passenger on the wrecked bike — the Arkansas head coach has painted the university into a public relations corner, with terms such as “sexual harassment” and “civil lawsuits” being flung about as possibilities, remote or not. The bottom line for athletic director Jeff Long, chancellor David Gearhart, the Board of Trustees and other university officials may come down to their collective interpretation of the language contained within Petrino’s contract worth a total of roughly $25 million.
Petrino’s contract with the University of Arkansas states the coach could be fired or punished for “engaging in conduct, as solely determined by the University, which is clearly contrary to the character and responsibilities of a person occupying the position of Head Football Coach or which negatively or adversely affects the reputation of the University or UAF’s athletics programs in any way.”
Bringing a football program into national prominence, and coming off back-to-back seasons that produced 21 wins in the rough-and-tumble SEC West, tends to buy a coach a bit longer rope than a losing one, though. It all would appear to come down to how much stench the university is willing to endure for the sake of remaining a winning football program.
Personally, if I were in the Arkansas administration’s shoes? Petrino would be gone. You can’t lie to your bosses and create an all-enveloping, very public maelstrom by way of a coverup and expect to keep your job. At least, you shouldn’t. Unless it violated school policy, the inappropriate relationship with a subordinate serves as nothing more than a titillating backdrop. The other stuff, the deceit and the Nixon-esque steps after the fact, that should not be tolerated by anyone, regardless of if an individual resides well on the good side of the won/loss ledger.
Just as Jim Tressel deserved to be fired for lying to both the NCAA and his bosses at the university and covering up his indiscretions, Petrino has earned the same fate.
Of course, your mileage may vary, which is actually the point of this whole exercise. What do you think? What should the University of Arkansas do about its Petrino situation? Vote below, and whine and/or sound-off below that in the comments section.
Texas Tech parts ways with offensive line coach Lee Hays
Kliff Kingsbury has parted ways with one longtime member of his coaching staff and said goodbye to another recent addition at the same time.
Texas Tech announced on Saturday afternoon that Lee Hays would not be returning to the staff in 2017, having previously served as the team’s offensive line coach the past four seasons. In addition, the program confirmed the departure of DeShaun Foster as running backs coach after just one year on the job.
“We appreciate all that Coach Foster and Coach Hays have done for our football program,” Kingsbury said in a release. “We wish them nothing but the best moving forward.”
While many expected a new look to come to Kingsbury’s staff after a disappointing 5-7 season in 2016, the fact that the first two changes occurred on the offensive side of the ball is pretty notable for a team that struggled to stop just about anybody on the defensive end. Hays notably has been around the program since 2013 when the head coach returned to Lubbock and is the more surprising name not coming back to the staff for next year.
UCLA’s Jim Mora hires two more coaches, including former Bruins RB DeShaun Foster
Jim Mora’s offensive overhaul appears to be complete.
UCLA announced a pair of hires on Saturday to the team’s coaching staff, starting with Hank Fraley as the Bruins’ new offensive line coach and the return of former tailback DeShaun Foster as the new running backs coach.
“DeShaun is a Bruin through and through, which makes this such an exciting addition to our staff,” said Mora in a statement. “On top of being a tremendous alum, consummate professional, trusted voice and valued mentor, he is an exceptional football coach whose pedigree and knowledge of the game command respect. We’re thrilled to welcome Deshaun back home where he belongs.”
Foster spent last season in the same position at Texas Tech but was in Westwood from 2013-2015 serving a variety of roles with the program. He is a familiar face to many in the powder blues, ranking third on the school’s all-time rushing list. He also had a lengthy stint in the NFL, most notable with the Carolina Panthers.
Fraley also has plenty of NFL experience, having spent 11 years in the league as a player before joining the coaching ranks. He recently served three seasons as the Minnesota Vikings assistant offensive line coach.
Morris was a former four-star recruit coming out of high school in the state but never quite lived up to those expectations with the Wolverines. He did start two games for the team over the course of his career but was third on the depth chart in 2016 behind Wilton Speight and John O’Korn.
As a result, he wraps up his time in Ann Arbor by completing 47 of 92 passes for 434 yards, with no touchdowns and five interceptions. He’ll be eligible right away for Central Michigan, which is a great landing spot for an incoming quarterback with almost all of the offensive starters returning from last season’s team.
Tennessee goes in-house for new offensive coordinator
With Mike DeBord off to Indiana, Butch Jones is staying in-house for his next offensive coordinator.
Tennessee announced Friday it has promoted Larry Scott to be its new offensive coordinator. Scott joined the staff before last season as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator. He spent the previous three seasons coaching tight ends at Miami, and racked up a 4-2 mark as the ‘Canes interim head coach after Al Golden‘s mid-season 2015 firing.
To replace DeBord in the quarterbacks room, Tennessee has hired long-time offensive coordinator Mike Canales as quarterbacks coach, and handed defensive backs coach Charlton Warren special teams coordinator duties to free Scott to focus on the offense.
Canales has previously served as offensive coordinator at Snow College, South Florida, Arizona and North Texas. He deposited two separate stints as the interim head coach at North Texas, and spent the ’16 campaign as assistant head coach, running backs and tight ends coach at Utah State.
“We spoke to a lot of very quality candidates,” Jones said in a statement. “Our goal was to gather as much information as possible in a timely manner but also go through a detailed process, which we did. We feel strongly about our offensive staff and that Larry Scott is the best fit moving forward to lead the unit.
“Larry played an important role in the success we had offensively last year and was heavily involved in all aspects of our game plan, both during the week and on game day. We felt it was vital to maintain our continuity on offense and keep building on what we have established the past four seasons.
“I’m also really excited about adding Mike Canales to our staff. Mike has recruited, coached and developed numerous quarterbacks at the collegiate level. He will be of great benefit to our players and staff with his extensive experience and knowledge of the quarterback position.”
The Vols finished the 2016 season ranked 24th nationally in both yards per play and scoring