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Petrino Opens Up To ESPN; The Rehabilitation Begins

People are an odd bunch.  Most all folks say they believe in forgiveness (especially when they’re the ones in need of it).  But when someone else is guilty of a major failing, we need to see them grovel a bit before we can let them back into our good graces.

I’m reminded of ESPN’s Dick Vitale stating that Bruce Pearl should be axed from his job at Tennessee only to then immediately state that he hoped someone would give Pearl a second chance once he was indeed fired.  Pearl couldn’t have just been punished at Tennessee, he had to be fired… then someone could bring him back.  (Ironically, it was Vitale’s own network that’s bringing him back this season.)

For years Pete Rose was told that he would have to admit to betting on baseball before he would be considered Hall of Fame worthy.  Finally, Rose came clean.  But the reaction from most — including Major League Baseball — was that he wasn’t quite remorseful enough.  So Rose is still locked out of the Hall at Cooperstown.

Ex-Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino isn’t going to go the Rose route.  Today, ESPN’s Joe Schad scored the big sit-down interview with the axed Razorback coach.  Petrino becomes emotional a couple of times during the interview as he talks about how he hurt his wife and his children.  It’s the kind of “crawl on your belly and weep for us” entertainment that we as a society love.

You can watch the video here.

Some will look at Petrino and claim he’s faking it or that he’s not shedding enough tears.  I’m not that cynical.  I suspect the man is truly hurting and truly remorseful.  How could he not be?

But the reason to sit down with ESPN and open up about the incident is very much calculated.  This is the first step on the road back to coaching for Petrino.  He knows it, ESPN knows it, and you and I know it.  Petrino even tells Schad that this experience will make him a better coach in the end.

Now, should someone give Petrino a second chance?  At life, sure.  That’s between his wife and his kids.  We are all flawed and we all fail miserably at times.  He shouldn’t have to wear a scarlet letter on his chest for the rest of his life.

But in terms of hiring him as a football coach?  Well, considering how he almost backstabbed former boss Tommy Tuberville, how he did backstab Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, and how he did backstab Arkansas AD Jeff Long — I believe I’d  think long and hard about handing my football program’s keys to Petrino if I were an athletic director.

Whether he’s hired again or not — and here’s betting he will be — it’s still a shame in this writer’s view that he has to publicly hit the ground and grovel just to get that process started.



He did a better job on his appology than Tiger Woods.


Only thing he is sorry for is getting caught.


doesnt matter if I believe him or not it matters if dave hart believes him enough


Guys who have messed up as much as he has usually start at a lower level.  I could see him landing in the MWC or CUSA or the Big East in a couple of years.

John Bragg
John Bragg

Kentucky is possible.  Tennessee could be enough of a big-bad-wolf program to pass on Petrino on grounds that he's not a permanent answer, if they can get a Gary Patterson or a Chris Peterson.   If not Tennessee and not Kentucky, then not the SEC next year--everywhere else either has a new coach or has a coach who has had some success.  


Maryland can't afford to fire Randy Edsall for another couple of years.


If the Big East does get a good contract, maybe UConn upgrades from Paul Pasqualoni?  Washington and Colorado could be open, and that PAC money will start rolling in...


I agree with Tyler B that it could well be UK next season. If not he will likely go to the NFL as an OC.


I don't think we will see him in the SEC anytime soon, too much bad blood at this point.  Only team that I think would lightly consider it is Tenn and that would really surprise me.  I see him as an OC somewhere for a bit and then 4 or 5 years down the line pop up out west.

Tyler B
Tyler B

UK and UT will be working the channels by the end of October. Considering Mitch Barnhart scored some leverage by landing Cal and a national title. Point being, Mitch and UK can afford a "whiff" when it comes to an annually poor football team. What's the worst that can happen to UK football? UT, on the other hand, had the blood of Pearl and Kiffin on its hands. No way they bring in a guy like Petrino. 


Next Stop? Lexington.


I would wager he will be running a major program within three years.  He'll be leading the Tennessee resurgence while Arkansas returns to middling status.  College athletics, athletics period, is a mercenary business.  Concessions to morality will be punished.  Florida had to pretend they cared that Cam Newton stole a laptop and it might have cost them a national title.


The new AD at Tennessee already programed his #1 button on his speed dial and has written the press announcement for his introduction as soon as DD loses his 5th game this year .

JR Clark
JR Clark

Yeah, he really wants to coach ASAP.  I think any school that hires him knows exactly what they are getting...he is from the Saban school of mercenary coaching.  He probably senses blood in the water at Kentucky and is positioning himself so that when UK fires The Joker at or near the end of the season, he'll be ready.


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