BOWLING GREEN, KY (AP) - Now that Bobby Petrino is back in the coaching ranks, he wants to make the most of his second chance.
Petrino was introduced Monday as Western Kentucky's
new head football coach. The 51-year-old was fired by Arkansas in April
for a "pattern of misleading" behavior following an accident in which
the coach was injured while riding a motorcycle with his mistress as a
"At this point in my career, it's about getting
back and coaching players," Petrino said. "It just happened to open up
at a place we love.
"I hope it can be as long as possible."
Petrino had a 34-17 record at Arkansas before he
was dismissed in the wake of the scandal. Petrino had an affair with
former Razorback volleyball player Jessica Dorrell, who he later hired
as a football assistant had gave $20,000 in gifts. Petrino said
initially he was the only person on the motorcycle but later admitted to
"I'm going to be able to sit down with mom and dad
and the student-athlete and make them understand how this experience has
made me a better coach, a better person and will make me understand
their son better," Petrino said during a packed news conference at
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity I'll be able to give student athletes when they make a mistake."
Petrino is replacing Willie Taggart, who left WKU last week to become South Florida's coach.
Western Kentucky gave Petrino a 4-year deal with a
base annual salary of $850,000. If he terminates the deal at any time,
he must re-pay the university $1.2 million in six monthly payments
starting the month after he leaves.
Athletic director Todd Stewart knows he might get criticized for hiring Petrino.
He and Petrino had a long discussion over the
weekend about the coach's past. Stewart said Petrino was candid and
honest about his conduct and took responsibility for his actions. He
said Petrino's contrition convinced him to give the coach a shot.
"What it comes down is that he made a big mistake
and he acknowledges that and he's taken ownership of that," Stewart
said. "And he's paid a heavy price for it.
"But this is the United States of America, and
we're a country of second chances. I was confident after talking with
him and with other people that he deserved a second chance and we are
more than happy to give it to him."
Petrino, 75-26 overall as a college head coach,
said he is looking forward to "building on the foundation and standards"
that Taggart established.
Petrino had been looking to get back into coaching
since he was let go by Arkansas. His name had been recently mentioned in
connection with several openings, including Kentucky and Auburn.
He returns to the state where he successfully began
his head coaching career. Petrino coached at Louisville from 2003-06,
going 41-9 and leading the Cardinals to a 12-1 mark and their first-ever
BCS berth in the Orange Bowl in 2006.
Now that he's back in the state, the coach said he and wife Becky "consider this coming home."
While at Louisville, Petrino was offered an NFL job and he left the Cardinals to become coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
He had a brief 13-game stint in 2007 with Atlanta.
The Falcons stumbled to a 3-10 start before Petrino left for Arkansas,
announcing his departure to players in a four-sentence laminated letter
left at their lockers.
Arkansas had a losing record - 5-7 - in his first
season. But Petrino and the Razorbacks improved each after that. They
were to 8-5 in 2009, 10-3 with a Sugar Bowl appearance in 2010 and went
11-2 with a Cotton Bowl bid in 2011.
He takes over a 7-5 Western Kentucky team that's
headed to its first bowl appearance as an FBS school. The Hilltoppers
will play in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26 against Central
WKU defensive coordinator Lance Guidry was named interim coach on Saturday and will coach the team in the bowl game.
Petrino will be hands-off until after the bowl game.
The new coach did meet with Hilltoppers players on
Monday afternoon. Petrino expects the program to consistently win
conference championships, bowl games and to compete for a BCS bowl
Stewart believes Petrino can take WKU to the next level.
"I'm confident that he'll be here for a while and
hope that he's here for a long time," Stewart said. "No one person is
bigger than the program, it's about the program. The important thing is
that the program continues to develop and get better and go to places
that its never been.
"You need a field general to give you the best chance to have that happen, and coach Petrino is the best one out there for us."
AP Freelancer Writer Brad Stephens in Bowling Green contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The
Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 7:16 AM EDT2013-05-22 11:16:10 GMT
A big clean up is underway at Amelia High School following a prank. Several trees were toilet papered and the sign in front of the school was also changed. No word on any suspects in the prankFull Story >
No word on any suspects in the prank or if the school system plans to punish those responsible.Full Story >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:31 PM EDT2013-05-22 02:31:55 GMT
The claim that the ongoing IRS scandal is limited to low level employees is falling apart. The six Cincinnati workers we have identified, who sent scrutinizing letters to conservative groups with wordsFull Story >
The claim that the ongoing IRS scandal is limited to low level employees is falling apart. Full Story >
Monday, May 20 2013 5:09 PM EDT2013-05-20 21:09:30 GMT
A Warren County government office is evacuated after a suspicious powder is found. The Health and Human Services Center building on East Street in Lebanon was evacuated just after 11:00 on Monday. PoliceFull Story >
Police say that HAZMAT crews and the FBI were called to investigate the powder. The FBI has since left. Full Story >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 8:06 AM EDT2013-05-22 12:06:35 GMT
A suspect in a wild police chase in Reading earlier this month is arrested after a chase in Warren County. The Warren County chase started near Little Miami High School around 11:30 Tuesday night whenFull Story >
A suspect in a wild police chase in Reading earlier this month is arrested after a chase in Warren County.Full Story >
Monday, May 20 2013 9:21 AM EDT2013-05-20 13:21:47 GMT
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - An Army wife who lost over 100 pounds while her husband was away in Afghanistan surprised the soldier Wednesday when he arrived at Wilmington International Airport. Misty Shaffer,Full Story >
A soldier from Wilmington returns from Afghanistan to a big surprise: a new wife, a new house and a different child.Full Story >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 8:42 AM EDT2013-05-22 12:42:17 GMT
A mother who missed her college graduation in order to attend her daughter's dance recital received a surprise ceremony on Monday. Kara Perkins agreed to go along when one of her friends said she neededFull Story >
A mother who missed her college graduation in order to attend her daughter's dance recital received a surprise ceremony on Monday.Full Story >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department. Full Story >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department.Full Story >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 8:41 PM EDT2013-05-22 00:41:37 GMT
EF5 tornadoes are a very rare occurrence in U.S. History. Before Monday's EF5 tornado in Oklahoma, there had only been 58 in the United States since 1950, when reliable records began. That number isFull Story >
EF5 tornadoes are a very rare occurrence in U.S. History.Full Story >
Monday, May 6 2013 1:29 PM EDT2013-05-06 17:29:07 GMT
A man charged with public indecency is expected to appear in court. Police say 36-year-old Jason Fletcher and Laura Oditt engaged in sexual conduct in a public place. The location is not named in courtFull Story >
A man charged with public indecency is expected to appear in court.Full Story >
635 W. 7th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45203
Switchboard: (513) 421-1919
Newsroom: (513) 421-0119
Press releases: desk@FOX19.com