Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich has been given a green light to begin contract extension negotiations with head football coach Bobby Petrino, The Courier-Journal reports.
Jurich received approval to begin discussions with Petrino on Friday by the University of Louisville Athletic Association. Petrino is currently signed to a six-year contract that would expire after the 2019 season. Petrino is currently the third highest-paid coach in the ACC, behind only Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney. Petrino also has the ACC’s second largest alloted payroll for assistant coaches on record, although it should be noted Boston College, Duke, Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Wake Forest do not have assistant coaching salary pool information on record according to USA Today‘s annual database of coaching salary information. Clemson and Florida State, again, are the only schools budgeting more money in this area than Louisville that we can confirm.
Louisville’s move to the ACC continues to see the school investing more and committing more to the growth of the football program, which has come with more donations and support from the fan base at a school that is traditionally recognized as a basketball school. Success in other sports has helped generate support from donors as well. Louisville recently opened up a fundraising effort to help pay for future renovations to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, which will help boost the program’s recruiting abilities as well. Locking up Petrino, a coach that has rediscovered himself at Louisville and has been welcomed back after a long, strange trip in the NFL and Arkansas, is a solid plan for the Cardinals program right now.
Petrino was a head coach at Louisville from 2003 through 2006 before taking a quick job in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons. He returned to the college game in 2008 with Arkansas but crashed his way into being let go after the 2011 season. He returned to coaching in Kentucky in 2013 at Western Kentucky and returned to Louisville in 2014. In his first two seasons back at Louisville, now in the ACC, the Cardinals have gone 17-9 and are coming off a victory in the Music City Bowl. Between his two stints with Louisville, Petrino is 58-18 with three bowl victories highlighted by a 2004 Orange Bowl victory and a top 10 finish.