Bobby Petrino was the most successful Arkansas Razorbacks head coach since Ken Hatfield’s teams in the 1980’s, but even that couldn’t save him from getting fired because of lying and deceiving his superiors in regards to his motorcycle crash and his relationship with Jessica Dorrell.
Many thought that Petrino should be able to save his job. In the SEC states, football always seems to be the most important thing in life, especially College Football. Arkansas went 21-5 under Petrino during the last couple of seasons, including a BCS bowl appearance (2011) and a win at the Cotton Bowl (2012) and a final AP ranking of 5. But the Razorbacks and the man who hired Petrino, Jeff Long, felt this has gone too far.
Petrino never struck anyone as the most honest of head coaches. Bolting from the Atlanta Falcons once realizing there was no hope without Michael Vick (boy was he wrong) would suggest something regarding Petrino’s ethics and loyalty. He lied to save his skin, to save his marriage on the way as well I suppose. But by making the University deliver wrong and false statement to the media in his cover up attempt was simply taking it too far. Long and the university simply had no choice.
Petrino hired the former Arkansas volleyball player, 25 year old Jessica Dorrell, probably choosing her instead of the other candidates for not exactly appropriate reasons. Giving her a $20,000 gift is another clue to what the hell was going on there. After Petrino crashed, he insisted through the following days that he was alone. The truth came out, and it appeared that the married Petrino and the engaged Dorrell were together on that motorcycle.
Petrino will lose the $3.5 million he was about to make next year, getting his contract terminated with cause. There will certainly be backlash from the Arkansas fans, as it’s proved time and time again the popular head coaches, successful head coaches, don’t manage to shun away support from students and other fans by despicable acts and then lying about them. Long and Arkansas will just have to weather the storm.
Petrino himself issued a statement regarding the whole firing. He had no one to blame but himself.
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 (athletic director) 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 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 four 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.