June 16, 2024

Bobby Petrino returning to Arkansas as coordinator 12 years after scandal led to his firing

It seems for Bobby Petrino, you really can go home again.

The former Arkansas Razorbacks head coach has agreed to return to the university to be its next offensive coordinator, according to ESPN.

The deal was in the process of being finalized on Tuesday evening, and he is expected to be on the school’s campus on Wednesday, per the report.

Bobby Petrino may return to coach at Arkansas, long after 2012 motorcycle  scandal - Axios NW Arkansas

Petrino had served as Arkansas’ head football coach from 2008-11 and helped lead the program to two top-25 finishes during his tenure, including a win in the 2011 Cotton Bowl.

The Razorbacks had great success and went 21-5 in his final two seasons as head coach, but a scandal in April 2012 rocked the football program and ended up costing Petrino his job.

A single-vehicle motorcycle accident eventually brought to light an affair that Petrino had been having with a then-25-year-old female football staffer that he had hired to the program.

It came out that Petrino was not alone in the crash as he initially said, but the staffer was with him, and the two had been having an undisclosed relationship.

Then-athletic director Jeff Long fired Petrino with cause on April 10, 2012, telling reporters during a press conference that Petrino had “engaged in a pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior designed to deceive me and members of the athletic staff.”

Now, over a decade after that dismissal, Petrino is coming back into the fold after a number of stops.

He held head coaching positions at Western Kentucky (2013), Louisville (2003-06, 2014-18) and Missouri State (2020-22).

This season, he served as the offensive coordinator for Texas A&M under Jimbo Fisher, who was fired as the Aggies’ head coach in early November.

Sources -- Bobby Petrino to be Arkansas offensive coordinator - ESPN

Petrino was not retained under new head coach Mike Elko.

The Razorbacks fired first-year offensive coordinator Dan Enos in October after eight games as the program struggled on the field.

Receivers coach Kenny Guiton was named interim coordinator to finish out the season.

Head coach Sam Pittman had found himself among coaches on the hot seat this year, but Arkansas elected to bring him back after a 4-7 season.

According to ESPN, Petrino’s hiring is likely to require presidential approval as a person fired by the university for cause “shall not be eligible for reemployment within any of the University of Arkansas System’s campuses, units or divisions.”

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