SPRINGFIELD, MO (AP) – Bobby Petrino is happy to have a job again, even if he participates in one of the lowest programs of the second level of college football.
“I knew I would not be retiring,” Petrino said Thursday at his introductory press conference in Missouri. “It was just a temporary retirement.”
58-year-old Petrino has been out of the game since his release in Louisville in November 2018. He ended up in Springfield, Missouri, mainly because of his relationship with sports director Kyle Moats. The two worked together in Louisville in 2006/07.
Moats said Petrino contacted him about the job after Dave Steckel was released last week after winning 13 games for the Bears of the Football Championship Subdivision in five seasons. School president Clif Smart has canceled the appointment.
“With a record 119: 56 as head coach at three FBS schools, we not only hired the best available coach, but also one of the best offensive coaches in the game’s history,” said Smart. “We also hired someone who runs a clean program, adheres to all aspects of the NCAA, and completes his student athletes. That was his story. “
Other parts of Petrino’s story are not as flattering. He coached the Atlanta Falcons for 13 games in 2007 before abruptly stepping down and leaving a note in the locker room to return to college coaching in Arkansas.
Petrino led the Razorbacks into the Sugar Bowl after the 2010 season and reached fifth place the following season when the Razorbacks won 11 games. A few months after the end of this season, Petrino was injured in a motorcycle accident that exposed an extramarital affair with an employee of the sports department. Petrino originally said he was traveling alone, but later found that the woman was a passenger and that she was involved in a relationship. Petrino was fired.
“One of the things I can teach our players is that you always have to overcome obstacles,” said Petrino. “You will always have to work hard every day. Certainly I made a mistake when I was at the University of Arkansas. I am lucky to have a great wife and family and to stay together and keep working. We did that. “
Petrino reappeared in Western Kentucky in 2012 and spent one season there before returning to Louisville for the 2014 season. Lamar Jackson, now the star quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, won the Heisman Trophy in 2016. But the Cardinals fought after Jackson’s departure and Petrino was released in 2018.
Missouri State was only 13-42 below Steckel. The bears were 1-10 in 2019.
Petrino said he was fully committed to the state of Missouri.
“I’m getting a bit on the other side of the hill,” he said. “I feel great, I feel very young, I feel very energetic and that is the job I want.
“As I told Kyle, if you want to write a script, write it like this: I’m coming here, I’m very successful, and in eight to ten years I’ll decide if I want to train soccer with a national soccer championship. That’s exactly what I want to see. “
This version corrects the spelling of the President of Missouri, Clif Smart.
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