Coaching Changes Daily: Don't sell Petrino redemption, Louisville

Bobby Petrino's career record is just 83-80 in nine college seasons. (USATSI)
Bobby Petrino's career record is 83-30 in nine college seasons. (USATSI)

Tom Jurich’s bio has a quote from Dr. James Ramsey, the president of the University of Louisville, praising Jurich’s prowess as the Cardinals’ athletic boss.

“He is committed to creating a forward moving, competitive and compliant culture that reflects well on our university,” Ramsey said.

For the most part, Jurich has fulfilled that duty. But he just turned on that last part of the job description.

Save a few winning seasons, nothing about the Bobby Petrino hiring is reflecting well.

Winning over everything. That’s the sole message sent here. Maybe that shouldn’t surprise. Nothing in college football amazes. It’s a landing strip for second chances. People mess up. It happens. Doesn’t mean Petrino should be muscled out of the college game.

But does the sheer volume of shower-inducing behavior from Petrino -- he paid a mistress with state funds and lied about it! -- really suggest he’ll change?

There are people in the industry who simply hate this guy. Former Falcons DC Mike Zimmer called him a gutless b*****d. Former Arkansas player Greg Childs once told me Petrino calls players “stupid” over and over at practices. He once conducted a back-door Auburn interview and left the Falcons like a bad prom date. This was before refusing to tell the truth about Jessica Dorrell, whom he hired for a football office position, until public records were to be released.

He left Arkansas' roster Brazilian-model thin.

But he's 83-30!

That's the number Louisville should cite at the Petrino presser. Please spare the redemption story or the rebuilt character. Don't fake this. Be straight.

He won a lot of games at Louisville, he was good when he was here from 2003-06, we’re going to the ACC next year and need to win at least eight games a year. Mr. Harley Leather Jacket can help us do that.

That's it. Just say that. Selling the family reunion narrative would be a groin punch to Louisville fans. If the guy wasn’t a good offensive mind, after all, he wouldn’t sniff this job.

Nevermind that Jurich could have used the same imagination and foresight for this hire that landed a not-so-coveted Charlie Strong four years ago to take over Louisville.

Based on on-field performance, Petrino was about the surest bet Jurich had. Taking the coordinator route -- Clemson OC Chad Morris and Michigan State DC Pat Narduzzi -- was risky because of lack of experience, but at least they would be inspired hires.

Winning is all that matters, until that winning coach burns you. Ask Jeff Long. The character concept still matters in the long term.

Jurich will probably get burned, too. Maybe he'll get a few wins before that happens.

*All quiet on the Penn State front, but a source close to Vandy coach James Franklin says the allure of Penn State -- winning big at a storied program -- will be very hard to pass up.

Vandy AD David Williams plans to make that decision hard on Franklin.

NBC Philadelphia says Al Golden is still in play, which could explain the holdup on a hire. Golden always made the most sense, the PSU loyalist who has flourished on his own in the college game. But with Golden publicly re-committing to Miami, can he go back on that? This is college football, so yes. But still seems unlikely.

*Western Kentucky opening: Coordinators Jeff Brohm and Nick Holt are getting a look, and WKU would be smart to call Stanford DC Derek Mason or Cincinnati OC Eddie Gran.

By the way, how sweet of a development is this for the Hilltoppers, who get buyout money in each of the last two years and can hire another talented coach?

*Cal makes changes that couldn’t have happened sooner -- Sonny Dykes demotes DC Andy Buh, fires defensive tackle coach Barry Sacks and defensive backs coach Randy Stewart.

This defense, though ravaged by injuries last year, needs an overhaul after looking overmatched and undisciplined.

Crucial hires looming for Dykes, who must get this right.

*LSU has reportedly moved on from OL coach Jeff Studrawa. Don’t be surprised if Les Miles calls Missouri OC Josh Henson, a former Tigers coach, just in case.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories