Razorbacks Make Up For Initial Mistake By Hiring Its Football Coach in the First Place
It was a mistake to hire Bobby Petrino.
You can’t change the spots on a leopard.
Athletic Director Jeff Long made up for the misstep he made four years ago. It was only a matter of time before that hire bit him in the hind leg. The lack of class and character of Petrino was bound up catch up to him at some time, and college football can only be grateful that it was before Petrino won a BCS National Championship.
Petrino lied, tried to cover it up, and then only confessed when painted into a corner. In that regard, he’s not a lot different than many sports figures or politicians. But it’s Petrino’s history of such untrustworthy behavior that sets him apart. There was Planegate involving Auburn and then the unthinkable departure from the Atlanta Falcons.
And now he gives a job in the football program to a young lover, has a motocycle accident, hides the facts from his boss and the media, and hopes that he’ll still be on the sidelines in the fall. It’s interesting that Petrino’s bio has been taking off the Arkansas athletic website, but Jessica Dorrell remains, listed as Student Athlete Development Coordinator.
Fortunately, Long didn’t fall for Petrino this time like he did four years ago.
Fans, of course, are blind. They see a program that has finally risen back to national prominence – it was 11-2 last season but unquestionably not in the same league as SEC West opponents Alabama and LSU – and wanted to keep the coach regardless of the unscrupulous behavior (and history) of their coach.
Winning – or the prospect of winning in this case – trumps common sense and morality.
In the end, Arkansas and college football are far better off without Petrino. He will resurface in a two years at a second-tier Division 1 team like a Florida Atlantic, Ohio or some such program. And Petrino, who can recruit and also coach, will succeed. But at a much smaller level than at Arkansas and in the SEC.