Bobby Petrino made a guest speaking appearance at an event hosted by the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday, and he came ready to issue an apology to Razorback fans. Making his first trip back to Little Rock since being removed as the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Petrino reflected on the happier times he had in Little Rock.
“Little Rock has and will always be a special place to me,” Petrino said at the event. “I wanted to come here today and apologize to everyone for how things ended.”
Petrino was removed as head coach in April 2012 after it was discovered a motorcycle accident had a few more wrinkles to it than initially believed. Petrino had been involved with an Arkansas football staffer, Jessica Dorrell.
During the luncheon event, Petrino said the hardest part about the whole ordeal back in 2012 was not being able to address the team. His run at Arkansas was a solid one with the Razorbacks going 34-17 from 2008 through 2011. Petrino’s last team finished the season ranked No. 5 in the final AP Top 25 after winning the Cotton Bowl, which was a year after Arkansas made an appearance in the Sugar Bowl (notable for being the final game coached by Jim Tressel at Ohio State following the infamous tattoo scandal in Columbus). Arkansas has struggled mightily to duplicate the success of the Petrino era with just three winning seasons since 2012.
But Petrino thinks Chad Morris will get things cooking again with the program.
Arkansas won two games in 2018. They’re already halfway to that win total this season.
Now that Louisville has made the decision to move on from Bobby Petrino, who was officially fired on Sunday, it’s time to figure out how much it is going to cost Louisville. According to comments made by Louisville athletics director Vince Tyra, the school is preparing to pay the $14 million due to Petrino per his contract with the university.
The plan will be to pay Petrino in quarterly payments and have the balance paid in full by the end of 2021. That comes out to about 12 quarterly payments of about $1.17 million.
Spreading out the payments to Petrino through the end of 2021 helps alleviate the financial burden for the school. Considering Louisville will likely want to bring in a known commodity as the next head coach rather than go to a top assistant coach, Louisville is going to have a decent coaching contract on its hands for the football program while paying off Petrino.
In addition to cutting ties with Petrino, Louisville has also removed assistant coaches Ryan Beard, L.D. Scott, Nick Petrino and Andy Wagner from the football staff. Beard and Scott are sons-in-law of Petrino, and Nick Petrino is, of course, the now-former head coach’s son.
After a seventh straight loss dropped Louisville to a woeful record of 2-8 this season, Louisville has reportedly fired head coach Bobby Petrino, effective immediately. Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports was among the first to report the news of the firing, which seemed more and more likely to occur as the losses continued to pile up for the Cardinals. The university officially announced the firing Sunday morning.
“We want to thank Bobby for guiding our football program to some of the better seasons we have had historically at U of L during his two separate tenures here,” Vice President and Director of Athletics Vince Tyra said. “However, at this time we feel the program needs different leadership and we owe it to our student-athletes and fans to get this turned around.”
The loss comes days after Louisville lost a road game at No. 13 Syracuse by a margin of 54-23. It was the fifth straight loss by double-digits for Louisville as the downward trend of the program over the past two years continues to deliver pain. Petrino has a combined record at Louisville of 77-35, but the Cardinals are 36-26 in his second stint with the program including the 2-8 mark this season.
Louisville will be on the hook for a $14 million buyout, according to the coaching salary database compiled by USA Today ($14,056,250). For a school going through as many changes as it has over the past couple of years, that is no easy price tag to take on, but the direction of the Louisville program from being a playoff contender and with a Heisman Trophy winner just two years ago to where it is now made it painfully clear a change needed to be made.
“I did not have the confidence that it was going to happen next season without a change and it needs to start happening now,” Tyra said. “We expect to determine a new head coach soon to restore our football program to national prominence.”
There has been no update on who will assume the role of interim coach for the remainder of Louisville’s season. Louisville hosts NC State next Saturday and wraps up the season at home against Kentucky. [UPDATE: Safeties coach Lorenzo Ward was named interim head coach.]
The popular name that pops up for Louisville’s next head coach is Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm, although he is coming off one of the worst losses he has had at Purdue this weekend.
The 2018 season has not been a kind one for Louisville. The 2-7 Cardinals are already well out of the running to go to a bowl game and questions about the future of head coach Bobby Petrino only grow louder with every loss. On Friday night, Louisville is on the road at No. 13 Syracuse where Louisville will look to do something it has never done since joining the ACC; win a conference road game against a ranked opponent.
Louisville joined the ACC from the American Athletic Conference in 2014. In that time, Louisville is 1-12 against ranked opponents, including a record of 0-10 in games against ranked opponents when playing on the road or on a neutral field (bowl games or season-openers). The Cardinals are 0-5 against ranked opponents from the ACC when on the road.
A handful of those matchups, of course, have come against Clemson at a time when Clemson is playing some of the best collective football in program history as a national championship contender the past three years and looking like one again this season. But the games against Clemson the past three years have shown just how far different these two programs have gone from each other. The woeful record against ranked competition also includes a blowout loss to No. 1 Alabama this season.
Don’t look now, but Louisville’s record against ranked opponents could get worse in these last few weeks of the regular season. In addition to playing at Syracuse on Friday night, Louisville also closes out the year at home against Kentucky, ranked No. 11 in the College Football Playoff ranking and No. 12 in the AP poll.
The only win against a ranked opponent Petrino has recorded in his second time around with Louisville was a 63-20 blasting of No. 2 Florida State on September 17, 2016. What a time that was. Shortly after that game, Petrino had to fend off rumors about his potential interest in a job opening at LSU. A lot has changed over the past two years.
Let’s not get too carried away here, but Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino just gave Alabama a bit of bulletin board material.
Speaking at a Louisville luncheon on Friday, Petrino reportedly said his Cardinals team is going to beat Alabama in the season opener in Orlando.
Alabama is currently anywhere from a 24.5 to a 26-point favorite depending on the sportsbook you prefer. The Crimson Tide opened as a 28-point favorite though, so maybe the line is moving in Louisville’s favor?
Regardless, while this comment from Petrino will be used by some Alabama fans to play the disrespect card, it is important to ask what Petrino is supposed to say in that environment. Would anyone expect Petrino to come out and predict a loss for any game? Of course not. Head coaches are going to say what wins the crowd over whether they genuinely feel strongly about this kind of statement or not.
Louisville opens the 2018 season on September 1 against Alabama in Orlando, Florida. Alabama is coming off a national championship and Louisville is coming off an 8-5 season.