Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

December 11, 2012

Petrino hired as Western Kentucky's head football coach

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Now that Bobby Petrino is back in the coaching ranks, he wants to make the most of his second chance.

Pertino 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 passenger.

“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 Dorrell’s presence.

Now he is getting another shot at coaching in the college ranks, replacing Willie Taggart, who left WKU last week to become South Florida’s coach.

Petrino, 75-26 overall as a college head coach, said he is looking forward to “building on the 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.

Petrino returns to the state where he successfully began his head coaching career. He 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 attached to 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 Michigan. WKU defensive coordinator Lance Guidry was named interim coach on Saturday will coach the team in the bowl game.

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