It appears Paul Petrino does not take kindly to reporters critiquing his team.
According to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Petrino had to be restrained by an assistant after angrily confronting a reporter from the paper at the end of practice on Wednesday. The reporter, Michael-Shawn Dugar, says that Petrino was upset with him over a piece he wrote discussing Idaho's vertical passing attack, which Dugar described as a work in progress.
I'll let Dugar explain what happened next:
Petrino walked up to me and the [Lewiston] Tribune reporter just outside the practice field and began to scream in my face, loudly informing us how many deep balls the team completed Wednesday. He then went on to chide us for our inaccurate criticisms of quarterback Matt Linehan and our lack of football knowledge, walking away saying, "You don't even know what the (expletive) you're talking about! Do your (expletive) job!"
Then he turned back and started to move toward me, still angrily shouting expletives about my writing and my professionalism while being physically restrained by one of his assistants, approaching me as if he had plans to do something other than verbally express his concerns.
You know, that's probably not the best way for a football coach to handle criticism of his football program. I have no doubt that coaches get angry about things that are written about them or their players because, were I a coach, I would be pretty ticked about some of the things I've written during my time covering the sport.
But most coaches just deal with it because it comes with the territory. It's part of the job description.
Reacting the way Petrino did just isn't acceptable.
Especially when you're a coach who has gone 2-21 in two seasons. Maybe you can get away with this kind of behavior when you're winning, but if you aren't, your employer will likely just view it as another reason to let you go should the losing continue.
And if it makes Paul Petrino angry to read that ... well, I won't be attending any Idaho practices any time soon, so I guess I'll be OK.
UPDATE: Paul Petrino and athletic director Rob Spear addressed the incident in statements released on Thursday, courtesy of the Idaho Statesman.
“This is not an accurate account of what happened after yesterday’s practice," said Petrino of the report. "I did not approach the reporter nor did I at any time threaten the reporter physically or verbally.
“Yesterday I reacted poorly to what I believed to be unfair criticism directed at our players and our program," continued Petrino. "I allowed my passion for the program and our players to spill over into a conversation with Mr. Dugar in which I used an unprofessional tone. I apologize for my language and looking back, I wish that I had handled it differently.”