Maybe SEC presidents and ADs simply want no part of someone who lost his job via scandal.
Maybe the boards of trustees and regents across the conference just can’t imagine dealing with the negative fallout that would come with making such a hire.
Maybe the league’s leaders have quietly agreed to blackball the man who built up Louisville and Arkansas only to tear down his own career with some very poor choices last spring.
Or maybe word has gotten around that most players at Louisville, Atlanta and Arkansas didn’t care much for their ex-coach. (They didn’t.)
Whatever the reason for SEC athletic directors at Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee have for ignoring Bobby Petrino… they need to get over it. Petrino wins. And in a sporting world where schools jump leagues for a shiny, thin dime and BCS-winning coaches can get ousted just two years after winning said championship, wins are really all that matters.
Oh, stop your moralizing.
I’ve got news for you. You’re a sinner. You’ve got faults galore. You’re no more moral than the guy who crashed his motorcycle back in April. Your sins might be different from his, sure, but sins they still are. And there’s no passage in your Bible to suggest Sin #3 is greater than Sin #9. You’re flawed, this writer’s flawed, and I’m pretty sure even Mark Richt is flawed (and he’d be the first to tell you that).
Petrino messed around on his wife. That’s business that should stay between him, his wife and his family. You don’t know what was involved in that deal and you shouldn’t pop off about it. Or even worry about it.
If your school is looking to hire a monk, call up a search firm in Tibet. Otherwise, just stick to the won/lost record, please. Everyone from King David to current generals to past presidents to that poor actress from “Twilight” has had moral lapses. That’s not a defense, mind you. That’s just a statement of fact.
Now, Petrino hired his mistress at Arkansas and that opened up his university and his immediate boss, AD Jeff Long, to all kinds of criticism and — potentially — even lawsuits. Arkansas had no choice but to fire him for that. Employees don’t stay employed when they lie to their bosses. Especially when they embarrass their bosses in the process.
But Petrino isn’t likely to try to hire any other mistress at any new job he might land. The man simply can’t be dumb enough to go down that road twice. So there shouldn’t be any worry from an athletic director or president or board or fanbase on that front at all.
The only reason I personally would have concerns about hiring the man is the fact he’s wound up making everyone who’s ever hired him regret it:
* Tommy Tuberville hired him at Auburn and then Petrino wound up trying to snake Tuberville’s job.
* Louisville AD Tom Jurich defended Petrino when “Jetgate” made national news and Petrino repaid him by jumping to the Atlanta Falcons.
* Arthur Blank was flabbergasted to learn that Petrino had accepted the Arkansas job and would leave his team with three games left to play in its season. (Leaving goodbye notes for his Falcons players was akin to shouting “So long, suckers” as he grabbed the last parachute and beat everyone else to the door of a crashing plane.)
* Then came Long whose still in “coaching search” mode eight months after Petrino blew up Arkansas’ season.
But that worry — that Petrino might hastily exit a program and leave it in shambles — shouldn’t really be that much of a worry anymore. Petrino wants to coach again. He has zero leverage in contract negotiations. Anyone bringing him in could lock him into a deal so ironclad that he’d have to pay millions upon millions if he were to try to open an escape hatch.
So what should be the biggest worry about the man really shouldn’t be a worry to Jay Jacobs at Auburn, Mitch Barnhart at Kentucky, or Dave Hart at Tennessee.
And if you’re still worrying that he might mess around with someone on the side, here’s some news for you: You’re going to have to worry about the trustworthiness of anyone you hire. Anyone. Assuming, of course, you plan on hiring a human being.
Look, if you want a jolly fellow who’ll serve as a good moral compass then pick up the phone and see if Jimmy Sexton has the Buddha on his roster of clients. Otherwise, get off your high horse, take hold of your nose, put cotton in your ears to avoid hearing about two weeks of bad ESPN press, and hire Petrino.
The man wins games and that equals money and that’s clearly all that matters in the current sports landscape. You can’t even try to deny that money is all that matters at this point, so don’t bother.
Petrino’s players don’t have to like him (they usually don’t) and he doesn’t require great recruiting classes to win games (his five classes at Arkansas were ranked 36, 16, 49, 24, and 34 by Rivals.com while his overall record was 34-17 with three bowl trips).
Someone will eventually give Petrino the Silkwood treatment and hose off all the radioactivity surrounding him. Whoever does that will watch his football program turn around lickety-split. And he shouldn’t have to worry about the coach abandoning him anytime soon.
As for those moral concerns, if you can find someone who lives a perfectly moral life, go ahead and hire him. And cross your fingers that his Holiness the Dalai Lama knows the difference between a zone blitz and a slant pattern.