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Louisville announces it has hired Bobby Petrino as coach

Reports: Petrino Accepts Louisville Job

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Bobby Petrino is back for a second stint as Louisville's football coach, returning to the school he calls home. And Louisville's athletic director insists the school is getting a "changed person."

Petrino coached Western Kentucky to an 8-4 record last season in his only year with the team. He led the Cardinals to a 41-9 mark from 2003-06. He succeeds Charlie Strong, who left last weekend after four years to accept the Texas job.

"It's great to get the opportunity to come back here," Petrino said during a news conference Thursday. "This is our home."

Petrino inherits a team coming off a 12-1 finish and gearing up to join the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.

He received a seven-year contract with a base annual salary of $3.5 million. It includes a $10 million buyout for leaving that decreases after four years. But the well-traveled coach said that will not be necessary because this is his "destination job."

Petrino is 83-30 as a college coach. His record includes a 34-17 mark at Arkansas that ended amid scandal in April 2012. He came to the Razorbacks after a 3-10 season in 2007 with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons that ended with the coach announcing his departure by letters left at the players' lockers.

Western Kentucky athletic director Todd Stewart said in a statement the Cardinals made a "tremendous hire" and wished Petrino well. Though Petrino had been mentioned for the Louisville job almost from the moment Strong left for the Longhorns, the coach said he became aware of the opening only after Cardinals athletic director Tom Jurich approached Stewart for permission to interview him.

Jurich said he was angry at Petrino early in the Tuesday interview because of the coach's demeanor in his previous Louisville stint, one that included player disciplinary issues. The AD also said he was mad at Petrino for leaving after a BCS Orange Bowl win for the Falcons, though he acknowledged the coach was honest in expressing his interest in the job.

On Sunday, Jurich acknowledged he and Petrino had previously resolved their differences. But he wanted to see if the coach had truly changed as he has professed since Arkansas fired him for "a pattern of misleading behavior" following a motorcycle accident in which he revealed his mistress was a passenger.

Jurich came away convinced he was getting a different man from the one who left, reinforcing his belief that Petrino was the right fit for the Cardinals.

"If it was the same Bobby that was here 10 years, I wasn't interested," said Jurich, adding that he kept coming back to Petrino as he went through a list of seven finalists. "He is definitely a changed person."

Petrino's critics have nonetheless remained skeptical about his commitment for bolting three programs in eight years, including his infamous exit from Atlanta that upset many players. Public sentiment differed, with overwhelming support for Petrino's hiring on sports talk radio, online polls and social media.

Petrino has been contrite since the embarrassing matter and reiterated Thursday he has been humbled by his experiences. Asked how he would quell skepticism, Petrino said, "the thing you do is just show (it). I have a sign in the locker room that says it's a `show-me' world."

Petrino added, "I made mistakes, both professionally and personally. That's something I'm not going to do again. ... My first mistake was leaving here."

Louisville's hiring of the offense-minded Petrino excited Cardinals players, such as leading rusher Dominique Brown, because of the potential of maintaining a high-powered unit Strong left behind. He acknowledged there was skepticism about his commitment but said those doubts disappeared after the coach met with players.

"There were a couple of on the fence, but now all the players are convinced," Brown said. "We knew what we had while he was here, a top-10 offense. He had a good track record while he was here. I knew he liked to use big backs like Michael Bush. I was kind of worried, but now we are all convinced."


Bobby Petrino Happy To Be Back Home

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fjcancel January 09 2014 at 1:46 PM

Ashamed. I cannot believe they say "The fans and students wanted him back" I understand he is a "winning coach" but is there no morals clause in a Coaches contract!!!

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2 replies
alscjo fjcancel January 09 2014 at 2:05 PM

It would appear not. this individual HAS no morals.

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1 reply
Thomas alscjo January 09 2014 at 2:17 PM

Neither does the University of Louisville. Two words that don't go well with each other, University of Louisville and INTEGRITY

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pflemonade fjcancel January 09 2014 at 3:04 PM

There is a large number of Card fans (myself included) that did NOT want him back. We are the ones that are not of the mindset to win at all cost. We support our team but not this person. Our athletic dirctor Tom Jurich has been usually right on about most hires but lots of us are questioning this one.

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1 reply
geldonski pflemonade January 09 2014 at 3:34 PM

How hypocritical. So this guy you don't want because of his shady past; but Rick Pitino is okay because he has won you the national championship in basketball. This is not win at all cost mentality. WOW!

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klvswv January 09 2014 at 3:46 PM

So what if he can recruit Florida? When he was here last time, he recruited thugs and criminals and left the mess for Kragthorpe to clean up. I am ashamed of my alma mater.

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wowen8 January 09 2014 at 9:14 PM

when you sleep with dogs, you invariably will get fleas . . . . .just sayin'

Flag Reply +1 rate up
davisclan51 January 09 2014 at 3:54 PM

Congrats Louisville! You've just succeeded in outwardly expressing what most of us knew all along....honesty, integrity, professionalism and core values all be damned. It's all about the "W" and everything else is secondary. From all the qualified candidates you could have selected, you chose a quitting, lying, deceitful adulterer. You must be proud. It should make for some interesting conversations when he's in the living rooms of recruits when a mom or dad asks about his values!

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3 replies
EMATNIC January 09 2014 at 8:16 PM

fool me once.......shame on you............ fool me twice.......may your pee-pee fall off

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winfriedcross January 09 2014 at 7:36 PM

I say he deserves another chance. The Bible says, " He without sin cast the first stone." He has profited from his mistakes and is a much wiser person. The old saying that the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence got to him. He has now been to other side and knows the difference from a mirage and the real thing.

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freddybird January 09 2014 at 4:07 PM

They better watch out; he'll be screwing all the cheerleaders!

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sbacts238 January 09 2014 at 4:43 PM

Has not shown loyalty to any of the institutions he has been employed at.

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1 reply
ybob555 sbacts238 January 09 2014 at 5:20 PM

If by "loyalty" you mean moving to a better paying job, with more things to put on your resume, then I think not only is the coaching position in college or the NFL, NBA or any others in any business position, who want to better themselves financially then there are are millions who do the same thing.

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1 reply
lkfman ybob555 January 09 2014 at 7:08 PM

Thankfully there are more than a few who do show loyalty to their teams and aren't motivated by greed. These coaches make more in a season than most people earn in a lifetime. How many more millions do they need?

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biffcove January 09 2014 at 7:12 PM

Damn ! Say it ain't so !!!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
dotoole1123 January 09 2014 at 5:57 PM

3.5 million a Harley and a Mistress.........American Dream!! Was the mistress his sister?? Somone's gotta have a tape. Good Luck you LOSERS.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
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