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Bobby Petrino Biography


Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino addresses SEC Media Days.
Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino addresses SEC Media Days.
Thanks to HOGraphics for the picture.



Bobby Petrino's biography reflects that he was born in Lewistown, Montana (grew up in Helena) on March 10, 1961. Maybe it was those wide-open Montana skies that influenced Bobby to ultimately become one the top offensive football (wide-open football) minds in football history.

As you read this you will be amazed at the mobility of Bobby Petrino in his football career. He has constantly moved from one job to another. So, it was interesting to read that he was born in Montana and stayed there for decades - not moving out of the state until he was 23 - and then to nearby Utah.

After graduating from Capital High in Helena, Bobby attended a local college - Carroll College. He graduated in 1983 having earned degrees in mathematics and PE. Petrino played quarterback on Carroll's football team and led the "Fighting Saints" to three straight championships (Frontier Conference). He was named the league's MVP in both 1981 and 1982. In 1983, Petrino began his football coaching career as a graduate assistant at Carroll.

In 1984, Petrino coached quarterbacks at Weber State. He then returned back to Carroll in 1985, where he was named offensive coordinator. Bobby P. was there for 2 years and each of those years Carroll had the #1 offense in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Petrino's reputation began to grow as a great offensive play caller. So, he was offered a job in Division I as Assistant Coach for Wide Receivers and Tight Ends at Weber State. Then, in 1989, Petrino became QB coach, and after a year, Offensive Coordinator at the University of Idaho.

Bobby Petrino '08 Razorback football.
Thanks to HOGraphics for the poster.



After success there, Petrino entered the world of "big time" college football in 1992, as QB coach for the Pac-10's Arizona State University Sun Devils. One of the quarterbacks Petrino coached at ASU was Jake Plummer who became a college football All-American and later played in the NFL.

But, Petrino kept on moving. In '94 he went to the University of Nevada and served as QB coach and Offensive Coord. Again, Petrino met with success. That success led to another move; to Utah State where he stayed for 3 years.

The next move - to Louisville - was the break-through job for Bobby Petrino. In one year there (1998) as Off. Coord., Petrino led the Cardinals' offense to the top-ranking offense in Division 1-A and also an amazing turn-around season in which Louisville won six more games than they had the year before.

But, we know, this guy moves around. So, after a year at Louisville, Petrino left college football coaching and went to the Pros. He was the QB coach and later Offensive Coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He coached Mark Brunnell to several oustanding seasons.

Then, in 2002, Petrino moved back to the college game, becoming the Offensive Coordinator for the SEC's Auburn University Tigers. Again, Petrino was successful and as a result was offered the head coaching job back at the University of Louisville.

Petrino had an amazing 41-9 record while at Louisville (amazing especially for Louisville) and earned quite a reputation as an offensive football genius. As a result, Petrino was courted by several teams and, in order to keep him, Louisville gave him a nice raise and long term contract. In fact, in July 2006 Petrino inked a 10 year; $25.6 million contract. Nevertheless, he was gone 6 months later, agreeing to become the head coach for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.

However, for the first time in his career, Petrino met with failure at Atlanta. The Falcons went 3-10 under Petrino. It was turbulent season as the Falcons lost star QB Michael Vick to the famous dog-fighting scandal. And, despite promising to return to Atlanta for the 2008 season, Petrino resigned in Dec. '07 (less than one year after taking the job) and took his current job as Head Coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks (who had just fired Houston Nutt).

Given Petrino's track record, you would not expect the grass to grow long under him while he is in Fayetteville. This is especially true given the difficult year Arkansas is likely to have in 2008. See Arkansas Razorbacks Football for more about that.

However, if that happens, then, Bobby Petrino will have had two straight bad years. So, he may not have as many coaching options after the 2008 Arkansas season. If he is willing to stay on for the long haul, Petrino likely can turn the Arkansas football program around. He obviously knows offensive football; knows the SEC; and knows pro-ball as well. His knowledge and contacts in the NFL are particularly valuable when he goes out recruiting high school players. Petrino can assure potential top prospects (especially offensive players) that he knows how to make them into NFL players. That should make him an outstanding recruiter.

It's really just a question of how long he'll stay at Arkansas if the grass looks greener elsewhere. Time will tell.




Check out our current page about Arkansas Razorbacks Football.


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