January 9th, 2014 11:03 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Auburn, Bobby Petrino, Richard Nixon, WKU
With Louisville’s re-hire of Petrino, the school is sure to take its share of heat today. Tom Jurich’s name will be mud because this move reeks of “We only care about winning.” So be it. Name me a school that isn’t all about winning.
So we won’t jump on Louisville for making a shady hire. They’ll tsk-tsk them for making an incredibly dumb hire. A hire that completely ignores one whole side of Petrino’s resume. Yeah, the wins on one side look good, but the wreckage in the other column, well, that takes a fool to ignore.
You see, Petrino once tried to backdoor his way out of The ‘Ville in order to go to Auburn. When Jet-gate blew up in some Auburn boosters’ faces, Louisville kept Petrino anyway. Because he won. But then he jumped to the Atlanta Falcons and left Steve Kragthorpe a mess of a roster with which to work. Petrino didn’t last a full season in the Georgia Dome before high-tailing it to Arkansas and stabbing owner Arthur Blank in the back. He famously left notes in the lockers of his players. ”So long, suckers” they might as well have said. In bringing him to Fayetteville, AD Jeff Long hired a guy who’d already proven his bosses couldn’t trust him. But he won games and that everyone from the Ozarks to Memphis “whoo-pig-sooie-ing.”
As Petrino improved the Razorbacks from five wins to eight to 10 to 11, Hog fans stuck their pig noses in the air and claimed others were just jealous when they tried to warn, “But you’ve got a jackass for a head coach.”
Then the motorcycle dropped.
Scandal. Embarrassment. A dismissal for not only lying to Long but for potentially landing the University of Arkansas in legal trouble. Petrino didn’t just have a mistress — hey, he’s human, we all mess up — but he pushed hard enough that she was eventually hired into the Arkansas athletic department. Worse, he actually cajoled Long into speeding up the hiring process which opened the door to lawsuits that — luckily for UA — never came.
He then spent a year away from the game. No school would touch him. Until the inevitable mea culpa interview appeared on ESPN. Desperate Western Kentucky — oh, so hungry to be taken seriously in football — forgave Petrino of his sins. Thumbs up on the forgive and forget part, but we all know WKU officials were really just hiring the man because he could win games. If he’d stunk as a coach the Hilltoppers wouldn’t have considered taking on such a reclamation project. But despite the fact that he’d already burned his bosses at Louisville, Atlanta and Arkansas, WKU indeed hired Petrino anyway. He rewarded them by going 8-4 in Year One.
There will be no Year Two.
So you can now add Western Kentucky AD Todd Stewart to the long list of chumps who’ve hired Petrino only to find themselves shivved in the yard by him later. Stewart’s Hail Mary hire now leaves the school looking for its third coach in three seasons. That’s not exactly great for a roster. You know, the roster. The kids who “bought in” to Petrino and his sales pitch. Yeah, they got Kiffin’d, too.
Petrino is King Weasel in a profession of weasels. All coaches are mercenaries; Petrino is the most mercenary.
“Education.” ”Building character.” ”Shaping young men’s lives.” Blah, blah and blah. Coaches coach because they like football and they like money and not necessarily in that order. Can’t say I’d be any different if put in their position, of course. If I can make $2 million here and $3 million there… there would look pretty good. And if I could stay silent for a week and let my current school sweat just enough to pay me $4 million here, then here would once again become “the place where I want to stay.”
It’s not hard to understand how or why coaches play the games that they do.
But I’d like to thank if put in that position I wouldn’t screw over every single man who ever dared to hire me. Everybody. Go back to that Jet-gate incident during Petrino’s first stint at Louisville. Whose job was he trying to snake? Tommy Tuberville’s… the boss who’d hired him to be his offensive coordinator at Auburn.
There’s a line from the Oliver Stone movie “Nixon” in which the title character imagines two other characters conversing about him. ”Sooner or later… sooner, I think, you’re gonna learn a lesson that’s been learned by everyone who’s ever gotten close to Richard Nixon. That’s he’s the darkness reaching out for the darkness. And, eventually, its either you or him.”
Substitute the name Bobby Petrino for Richard Nixon.
Louisville will win some football games with Petrino. You can bet on that because the guy can flat coach. But just as surely the school will be burned by him again. He’s a human torch with a trail of destruction and double-crossed bosses in his wake.
Just ask the folks who’ve tried to clean up what he’s left behind at Louisville (the first time), Atlanta and Arkansas. Just ask the poor saps at Western Kentucky today. He’s the darkness reaching out for the darkness. Eventually, it’s either your or him. Get ready, Louisville. You’re about to learn that lesson again.
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