Bobby Petrino Fired
by Mo Johnson
Arkansas AD Jeff Long fired Bobby Petrino for lying about a motorcycle accident he'd been in. He said he was riding alone when, in fact, he was riding with a 25 year old female employee he'd hired only a few days before. There are various allegations of inappropriate conduct regarding the relationship and the hiring.
Taver Johnson will remain interim coach of the Razorbacks through the end of spring practices. However, UA has begun a search for a new coach. Long said:
It's hard to say what impact this will have, but we hope to find a head football coach that can lead this program and attract the kind of student-athletes that can be successful in the SEC. We all know this is the toughest football conference in the country and we're in the toughest division so I think that will attract a quality coach and quality student-athletes.
I think it will be difficult to find a quality coach at this point in the offseason. The Razorbacks likely will have to stick with their interim coach at least through the 2012 season. But, we'll see.
Here's the Statement from Bobby Petrino:
I was informed in writing today at 5:45 p.m. that I was being terminated as head football coach at the University of Arkansas.
The simplest response I have is: I’m sorry. These two words seem very inadequate. But that is my heart. All I have been able to think about is the number of people I’ve let down by making selfish decisions. I’ve taken a lot of criticism in the past. Some deserved, some not deserved. This time, I have no one to blame but myself.
I chose to engage in an improper relationship. I also made several poor decisions following the end of that relationship and in the aftermath of the accident.I accept full responsibility for what has happened.
I’m sure you heard Jeff Long’s reasons for termination. There was a lot of information shared. Given the decision that has been made, this is not the place to debate Jeff’s view of what happened. In the end, I put him in the position of having to sort through my mistakes and that is my fault.
I have hurt my wife Becky and our four children. I’ve let down the University of Arkansas, my team, coaching staff and everyone associated with the Razorback football program. As a result of my personal mistakes, we will not get to finish our goal of building a championship program. I wish that I had been given the opportunity to meet with the players and staff prior to this evening’s press conference and hope that I will be given the opportunity to give my apologies and say my goodbyes in person. We have left the program in better shape than we found it and I want the Razorback Nation to know that it is my hope that the program achieves the success it deserves.
My sole focus at this point is trying to repair the damage I’ve done to my family. They did not ask for any of this and deserve better. I am committed to being a better husband, father and human being as a result of this and will work each and every day to prove that to my family, friends and others.
I love football. I love coaching. I of course hope I can find my way back to the profession I love. In the meantime, I will do everything I can to heal the wounds I have created.
I want to thank Chancellor Gearhart, Jeff Long, the Board of Trustees, the University administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni and fans for the opportunity to serve as the head football coach at the University of Arkansas for the past 4 years. I was not given an opportunity to continue in that position. I wish that had been the case, but that was not my decision. I wish nothing but the best for the Razorback football program, the University and the entire Razorback Nation.
Petrino went 34-17 in four seasons as the Razorbacks' head coach, with a 21-5 record in the last two years. Arkansas earned its first invite to a BCS Bowl game in 2010 and in 2011 tied a program record with 11 wins. Arkansas also is in the midst of several major fundraising and building projects in support of its growing football program.
Here's an opinion about why Bobby Petrino had to be fired