Bobby Petrino continues to be a terrible person
Bobby Petrino has built a career out of being a pretty good football coach. He builds programs up and makes them competitive on a national level in a hurry, which makes him a pretty hot commodity in the coaching world. However, Bobby Petrino is also a bit of a moral black hole. He’s got a sordid history of looking out for Bobby P, and letting everyone else sort out the mess after he leaves. His quick exits and constant up-jumping earned him a reputation as a snake-oil salesman, promising everything and then leaving in the night. Petrino has held 15 different jobs for 11 different programs/organizations during 24 seasons of coaching. Less than two years at any one postion, and sometimes you’d be lucky to get one. Just ask the Atlanta Falcons, who watched as Petrino left them so quickly after just 13 games that he left post-it notes in the lockers of players to say goodbye rather than tell them in person. Well, after four years (a pretty huge commitment for Bobby), the University of Arkansas is kicking Petrino to the curb for being a slimy, selfish liar. Imagine that…
After an incident in which Petrino crashed his motorcycle and then attempted to cover up the fact there was another person on the bike with him, and that the person on the bike with him was a former Arkansas volleyball player whom Petrino had been having an inappropriate relationship with and had given unfair professional favoritism to (if that’s what the kids are calling it these days), the university has had enough of the former coach’s double-talking ways.
“He made the decision, a conscious decision, to mislead the public on Tuesday, and in doing so negatively and adversely affected the reputation of the University of Arkansas and our football program,” (Athletic Director Jeff) Long said, choking up at one point as he discussed telling players that their coach was gone. “In short, coach Petrino engaged in a pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior designed to deceive me and members of the athletic staff, both before and after the motorcycle accident.”
Here’s how the story played out. On April 1, Bobby Petrino crashed his motorcycle on a two-lane highway about 20 miles southeast of Fayetteville. Draft 1 of the Petrino story was that he had been spending the day with his wife at a northern Arkansas lake. That sounds nice. However, Petrino actually went on a ride with 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell, whom he had been having an illicit relationship with for a “significant” amount of time, which he failed to disclose at his news conference two days after the crash or for another two days to his AD Long. He didn’t even speak up when the school released a statement on behalf of the Petrino family stating that “nobody else” was involved in the crash. In fact, Petrino didn’t come clean until he was tipped off by the state trooper that does security for him during the season that the state police report of the accident (which included the number of people involved) would be released to the public. Petrino then came clean about Dorrell’s presence on the bike and the inappropriate relationship with her a whole 20 minutes before the police report was released. Nothing like being honest moments before you’re revealed to be a liar.
Long immediately place Petrino on paid leave and opened up an investigation into the coach’s conduct. Spoiler: his conduct was slimy. As the review of Petrino continued, the police released the audio of the 911 call that reported Petrino’s accident. In it, Petrino is trying to avoid calling the police after the crash. Keep in mind the crash broke four ribs, cracked vertabra in his neck and gave him several abrasions on his face, so you can imagine how badly he wanted to keep what he was doing under wraps. When the police showed up, Petrino went on to ask them if he was required to give the name of the passenger that was involved in the accident. Long legitimately saw all of this as an attempt at a cover-up.
Then there was the questionable hire of Dorrell by Petrino. Dorell worked for the Razorbacks Foundation before she got the job with the football team on March 28, just four days prior to the motorcycle accident. She was apparently one of three finalists out of 159 applicants for the position and received the job after a time frame that Long said was shorter than usual. In addition to speeding up the hiring process, Petrino never disclosed his conflict of interest when hiring Dorrell, or when he apparently gave her a $20,000 “gift,” likely out of the goodness of his heart. Bobby sounds like the best boss ever.
So after the attempted cover-up, the abuse of power in hiring his mistress, and lying about the whole thing repeatedly to his superiors, Petrino finds himself out of work. As football fans in the south are going to do, rallies to “save” Petrino sprang up simply because he wins football games, including an 11-2 2011 season that culminated in a No. 5 final ranking and a Cotton Bowl win over Kansas State. This season, Petrino was supposed to challenge the superpowers of the SEC West in Alabama and LSU (National Champ and runner-up respectively), who also happened to be the only teams that Arkansas lost to last season. That may have been enough for some fans, but the school had enough.
With this decision, Arkansas definitively states that no amount of on-field success gives you free reign to be a creep and liar, and I say good for them. College football is better when it has fewer Bobby Petrino types in it. Petrino for his part says he’s focusing on “repairing the damage” he’s done to his wife and four kids, but hopes to one day get back into coaching. Sadly, because he has a track record of winning games, he’ll get that chance. But for now, let’s all enjoy the fact that college football is a little less slimy with Bobby Petrino out of a job.