Skip to content

Wanna bet? Malzahn the favorite to replace Petrino

Arkansas St Malzahn Football AP

As the shock slowly begins to wane from Bobby Petrino‘s firing as Arkansas’ head coach earlier this week, more and more attention turns to which man will replace the disgraced coach for either the short- or the long-term.

And, if you place any faith in the individuals responsible for setting the betting lines, the football program may not even have to go out of the state to find a permanent successor.

According to Bovada.com (formerly Bodog.com), Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn is the favorite to replace Petrino, coming in at 5/2.  The former Auburn offensive coordinator was one of the first names mentioned in the wake of Petrino’s firing, although he’s publicly stated that he’s “committed to being here” at ASU.

Malzahn’s far from a heavy favorite, however, as former Razorbacks OC and current UAB head coach Garrick McGee — the favorite of quite a few current and former UA players — is at 3/1 while USF head coach Skip Holtz, whose dad Lou was the Razorbacks’ head coach over three decades ago, is in the mix as far as the bettors are concerned at 7/2.  Like Malzahn, Holtz has (kinda) (sorta) denied interest in the job.

FIU head coach Mario Cristobal comes in at 5/1, while Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who will be a head coach at this level sooner rather than later, is viewed as a 6/1 shot to replace Petrino.

Next in line is the most successful and established name that’s been attached to the opening — TCU’s Gary Patterson.  While the odds are at 10/1, it’s head-scratching that they’re even that high, if for nothing more than the timing of the opening as well as the fact that Patterson does not “seem” like a coach who would leave a program he’s been at for 11 full seasons and turned into a powerhouse less than five months before the start of a new season.  Perhaps Patterson would listen after this season if UA goes the interim route — and even then it’s anyone’s guess if he’d entertain UA’s interest — but the timing and the circumstances make him a highly unlikely option for the short-term.

Louisville’s Charlie Strong, perhaps given his extensive SEC ties, has been mentioned as a possibility as well and is a 15/1 shot according to Bovada, the same as former North Carolina and Miami (Fla.) head coach Butch Davis.

Finally, and just for spits and giggles apparently, a member of the Razorbacks’ 1964 national championship team was also listed — two-time Super Bowl and one-time NCAA champion Jimmy Johnson at 20/1.

Despite all of the names circulating around the opening, and if I were a betting man — I’ll bet you $20 I’m not — I’m laying heavy odds on athletic director Jeff Long naming a “permanent” interim head coach at some point in the next couple of weeks, following that decision up with a methodical, all-inclusive national search that will ultimately result in a permanent replacement being named at some point after the 2012 regular season.

Permalink 20 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Alabama Crimson Tide, American Athletic Conference, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, FIU Panthers, Louisville Cardinals, Mountain West Conference, Rumor Mill, Southeastern Conference, Sun Belt Conference, TCU Horned Frogs, Top Posts, USF Bulls
20 Responses to “Wanna bet? Malzahn the favorite to replace Petrino”
  1. mydixienormus says: Apr 12, 2012 6:18 PM

    Serious Question: Is the girl that Patrino had his affair with still working for the school?

    Must be a little awkward around the office for her….

  2. bozosforall says: Apr 12, 2012 6:25 PM

    mydixienormus says:
    Apr 12, 2012 6:18 PM
    Serious Question: Is the girl that Patrino had his affair with still working for the school?

    Must be a little awkward around the office for her….

    __
    Probably about as awkward as mrs.lay will feel once he comes out from his rock. Or is dryzzt23 really mrs.lay in disguise?

  3. rolltide510 says: Apr 12, 2012 6:35 PM

    Arky fans seem to hate the idea of Malzhan, not sure why. He was able to recruit 5 star kids from Arknasas (Dyer, Frasier), something Petrino couldn’t seem to do.

  4. larrybrown43 says: Apr 12, 2012 6:53 PM

    No Jim Tressel on the list? Though you’re opening yourself up to a lot of questions and jokes, his football resume is very impressive. The program needs someone to continue the major strides the took under Petrino. Someone with head coaching experience at a major program is a good place to start. I’m sure he’s been humbled the OSU situation.

  5. bozosforall says: Apr 12, 2012 6:56 PM

    And the hits keep on coming:

    http://network.yardbarker.com/college_football/article_external/petrino_texted_with_08_miss_bikini_usa/10543135

  6. Deb says: Apr 12, 2012 7:17 PM

    What are the odds that they’ll stay with an interim coach through this season? Halfway through April is a tough time to try and assemble an entire new coaching team and change direction. And it leaves a bad taste for people to leave their current programs in a lurch during Spring ball. That’s why some people might be reluctant to make the move right now.

    Of those you’ve listed, I’d look most closely at guys like Smart, Patterson, and Strong because my preference is a head coach from the defensive side of the ball. But the Arkansas fans seem to prefer an offensive guy as long as it’s not Malzahn. That’s good–I don’t want to lose Smart at Bama, even though our real defensive guru is Saban.

  7. bender4700 says: Apr 12, 2012 7:35 PM

    So Arkansas’s response to the firing of a coach who burned a team that took a chance on him is to hire away a guy from a team who took a chance on him?!

    Malzahn leaving for Arkansas, as much of an upgrade as it is, is a pretty classless thing to do.

    Didn’t this guy get turned down by several teams?

    I guess his local connection to the school and state, this being a MUCH better job does make up for him ditching Ark State, but there has to be some sense of honor.

    Why do we use the word “contract” when neither school nor coach abides by it? Texas Tech, Urban Meyer (retiring for 1 year??), Petrino, Saban, etc.

    I just think Malzahn can make a point, that it’s not about the spotlight, but respecting and honoring those who gave you a chance. But at the same token, if Malzahn doesn’t win at all there, he’d get the ax, so maybe at this point we’ve gone too far.

    Sad state of College Athletics. NFL makes sense, that’s a business, College Football WAS about the athlete, at one point.

  8. fantabio78 says: Apr 13, 2012 12:23 AM

    for those of you in SEC land where win @ all costs ethical, legal, unethical, illegally, etc
    Petrino appologized via TEXT message to AD Long so just in case you thought he might have sum semblance of a SPINE proof he does NOT he’s nothing but a yellow bellied COWARD

  9. Brian Basher says: Apr 13, 2012 12:55 AM

    @bender4700

    You should probably go back and read the article again and then go get your panties out of that wad…there was NOTHING said about Arkansas hiring Malzahn.

    Just because some gambling site listed him as the favorite doesn’t mean anything.

    Hell everybody and their mother knew Malzahn would be one of the favorites to coach the Razorbacks if anything happened to Petrino, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is the Razorbacks favorite.

  10. trojan33sc says: Apr 13, 2012 1:18 AM

    The real question is whether Petrino can afford one of those $20million dollar diamond rings that Kobe had to purchase ???

  11. jumbossportsblog says: Apr 13, 2012 5:34 AM

    Reblogged this on jumbossportsblog.

  12. thegamecocker says: Apr 13, 2012 8:35 AM

    @bender4700

    “Sad state of College Athletics. NFL makes sense, that’s a business, College Football WAS about the athlete, at one point.”

    I agree with you 100% but it’s just the way it is and the train has left the station. Financially some schools have benefited greatly by being in either the SEC or the PAC 12. Missouri and Texas A&M will see the $$$ rolling in on their investment as will Colorado and Nebraska (Big 10). But I’m with you in that I wish it was more about amateur athletics and true scholar-athletes as opposed to “students” who come to college as a stage for professional sports.

  13. chitownjeff says: Apr 13, 2012 10:32 AM

    arrybrown43 says: Apr 12, 2012 6:53 PM

    No Jim Tressel on the list? Though you’re opening yourself up to a lot of questions and jokes, his football resume is very impressive. The program needs someone to continue the major strides the took under Petrino. Someone with head coaching experience at a major program is a good place to start. I’m sure he’s been humbled the OSU situation

    Another lame miss by you Larry.. wiki or google “Show cause”.. to hire the sweater vest you have to petition the NCAA on why and then accept potential penalties to do so.. Yeah.. very unlikely..

  14. rogeramoody says: Apr 13, 2012 11:19 AM

    If they decide on the interim route, and considering the money involved in fund raising, talking with the booster clubs, etc… why not go with a interim CEO type guy… pay Lou to come and be the face of the program and promote the program, motivate the players and let the coaches do their job.

    With this team an interim just needs to be able to manage the personalities, the scheduling and the clock. They are too good to trust an unknown and too late to hire “the best guy”.

    Call Lou and offer 3mil for 10months work.
    Jimmy Johnson could pull it off too but, his ego would probably conflict with the existing staff.

  15. burntorangehorn says: Apr 13, 2012 12:37 PM

    Jerry Jones, anyone?

  16. whalerpilot says: Apr 13, 2012 6:44 PM

    Garrick McGee should be offered the position on a two year interim contract. The Team would rally around Garrick immediately and the transition would be virtually seamless as far as the Arkansas Offense Scheme is concerned. Malzhan might be a good future possibility but would be disruptive to the current team and the prospects for the 2012 Season. My bet is on Garrick with a short term contract with a renewable option for performance after 2 Seasons.

  17. opie333 says: Apr 13, 2012 9:20 PM

    Malzahn is perfect! He’s a home town boy. I don’t know who said Arkansas fans don’t want Malzahn!??? Im from Arkansas and we would love that move!

  18. dcroz says: Apr 13, 2012 9:31 PM

    fantabio78:

    Ah, yes, more bitterness against the success of the SEC. If the SEC is winning, all the teams in it must be cheating; after all, how else to explain why your team isn’t (whichever one it may be)?

  19. dcroz says: Apr 13, 2012 9:39 PM

    Arkansas would be better off having this season led by an interim coach, taking their time performing a thorough search, and seeing who becomes available as the season wears on.

    As I’ve mentioned before, they can learn from how Alabama (mis)handled the coaching search after firing Mike Price in May 2003. Instead of putting the interim tag on an assistant and waiting to see who was open by the end of the next season, AD Mal Moore hired Mike Shula, who was in over his head. Had he waited, he may have been able to get Steve Spurrier in Tuscaloosa, as he would be fired by Daniel Snyder from his head coaching gig with the Redskins before the 2003 NFL season ended and thus available. Instead ‘Bama got seasons of 4-9, 6-6, a lightning-in-a-bottle 10-2, and 6-5 before Shula was fired the week after the Iron Bowl (and would finish 6-6 with Joe Kines as interim HC for the Independence Bowl against Okie St.).

    The Hogs do not need to be hasty in making a decision. They have the athletes available to still have a highly successful season with an interim coach who is familiar to the players and the system, and they can be sure to have a right-fit coach instead of a stop-the-bleeding one that may not pan out.

  20. kozbee says: Apr 18, 2012 10:25 AM

    Malzahn imo would be a good coach and give him a 1yr contract to see if hes fit to be a hog.
    Kirby Smart imo also should be a top choice to coach @ Arkansas.If the AD and school are smart give whoever gets the job a 1 or 2 yr contract and if they do well then make them feel at home with a big paycheck and a new Harley as a signing bonus.The bike was a joke,smile…

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!