The coaching carousel rumor mill began churning out potential candidates for the Kentucky job even before Joker Phillips was fired earlier this week. One such candidate popular among the message boards was former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino. Now that the metaphorical guillotine has indeed fallen on Phillips, the Petrino-to-UK conjecture has picked up. Thanks to some rather interesting quotes from Petrino’s father to the Louisville Courier-Journal, said conjecture won’t be going away anytime soon.
Or, at least until Kentucky introduces its new head coach… and it’s not Petrino.
Bob Petrino told the paper Wednesday that his son, fired from Arkansas this past spring for committing a quid pro quo with football assistant Jessica Dorrell and then misleading athletic director Jeff Long about the affair, would jump at the opportunity to coach the Wildcats (but really, to coach in the SEC again).
“I know he wants a job; he needs a job,” Petrino Sr. told the paper. “He told me, ‘I need a job, Dad.’ I said, ‘Well, you must still have some money. You made 31/2 million dollars.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I do. It’s not the money.’ He just misses coaching so much.”
“I just know this, that he’s interested in Kentucky. He wants to stay in the SEC. That was his life’s goal was to go to the SEC.”
Coaching is hard profession to leave — Urban Meyer tried and couldn’t — so Petrino’s apparent need to get back on the sidelines after just seven months away from the game isn’t surprising. Not to mention he still has to be in his wife’s doghouse for cheating. I’d want to get away from that too because you know that couch in the coach’s office is way more comfortable than the one at home.
The idea of Petrino coaching the Wildcats is interesting, however. Petrino coached at Louisville from 2003-06 before leaving for the Atlanta Falcons, and some believe that Petrino has no interest in coaching the Cardinals’ in-state rival. But the more pertinent question would be if Kentucky wants Petrino. On Sunday shortly after Phillips was fired, Yahoo! Sports reported that UK did not have interest in the former Hogs coach.
You can color me surprised if Petrino gets hired anywhere in the SEC after this season. Make no mistake — Petrino will be coaching again soon. He’s been too successful not to get hired. But it’s unlikely any available SEC jobs will turn to Petrino given his complete professional disregard for Long and UA when there are solid options out there, and no, we don’t mean Jon Gruden thank you very much.