Bobby Petrino

Louisville officially welcomes back Bobby Petrino


And there you have it.  The Prodigal Football Son has returned.

How long he stays or what controversy may be lurking around the next corner is to be determined.

Regardless, and following up on speculation that against all logic began gaining momentum Wednesday, Louisville confirmed in a release ahead of a press conference Thursday morning that it has hired Bobby Petrino as its new head football coach.  Petrino, who spent 2013 as the head coach at Western Kentucky, will replace Charlie Strong, who left the Cardinals after three seasons for the Texas job.

The official announcement comes after a special meeting of the university’s Personnel Committee was convened to discuss the hire.  That committee, as is usually the case, unanimously approved the move.

It also comes a little over seven years after Petrino ended a four-year stint as the Cardinals head coach, a wildly successful run that saw him compile a 41-9 record and an Orange Bowl win.  Since then, Petrino’s coaching career has been marked by the controversy left in the wake of his departures from the Atlanta Falcons and Arkansas Razorbacks.

And, as expected, Petrino talked — in generalities –about his controversial past in the press conference to officially introduce him as the UofL’s new head coach.

“I’ve made mistakes both professionally and personally, something that I’m not going to do again,” Petrino said, adding his “first mistake was ever leaving” Louisville in the first place. “I want everyone here to know this is my destination job. … This is where I want to finish my career,” said the vagabond coach.

Petrino’s boss is also sold on the “new man” angle that the university is pushing.

“I believe Bobby Petrino’s a changed man,” UofL athletic director Tom Jurich stated. “Bobby has convinced me he’s a changed man. …

“Bobby has convinced me he’s a changed man. I told Bobby the coach I had here is not the coach I want to hire. I want the new Bobby.”

Petrino also acknowledged that he’s contractually obligated to follow through on his “I want to finish my career at Louisville” creed, revealing that he has a $10 million buyout written into what’s reportedly a seven-year deal.  Petrino is actually quite familiar with eight-figure buyouts; in signing a seven-year deal with Arkansas in December of 2010, part of the language included in that deal was a buyout of $18 million if he left for another job in the first two years.

Of course, that buyout never came into play because, well, vroom vroom

Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil to return for Texas A&M on Oct. 24

Associated Press
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As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.

From the university:

The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits.  During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle.  In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles.  He later corrected his account and since apologized. 

As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.

Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”

The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.

Hope he’s been practicing.

Report: Steve Spurrier set to retire

Steve Spurrier

Say it ain’t so, Steve.

According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.

Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.

He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.

But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.

Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:

Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.