The ups and downs of Bobby Petrino - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

  • What's your reaction to the return of Bobby Petrino at UofL?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Everyone deserves a second chance
    18%
    91 votes
    He's bringing too much baggage
    42%
    199 votes
    I don't care about his baggage, but I don't like him as a coach
    9%
    41 votes
    He's a good coach despite his history
    25%
    118 votes
    Doesn't matter to me either way
    6%
    29 votes

The ups and downs of Bobby Petrino

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Reaction to "Bobby Petrino 2.0" from UofL fans has been mixed. Many will welcome the coach because he's a winner. Others have a hard time forgetting Petrino's long and sometimes questionable history.

The wild ride took off in Louisville December 23, 2002, the day he was introduced as the Cards new head coach.

"It's a great place," Petrino said. "I'm looking forward to filling up that stadium. We're going to play an exciting brand of football."

Petrino brought excitement from the start as he returned to the school where he had first coached as offensive coordinator. He started building the Cards into a national power.

In 2007, UofL made its first BCS bowl appearance, beating Wake Forest 24-13 in the Orange Bowl.

"It's so important to our program now because we really have things going our way and Coach Petrino has just done an outstanding job," said one Cards fan who made the trip to Miami.

But celebration soon turned to shock when Petrino tore out of town to take over as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons less than a week after the win.

"I heard he was going to stay here and this is where he was going to stay for the long haul," said a UofL student. "Now he's leaving."

Some felt Petrino had his foot out the door in Louisville almost the whole time he was here. He entertained hush-hush offers from Auburn less than a year after he was hired, shortly before his first bowl appearance at UofL. That put the coach on damage control.

"This is the job I want. This is where I'm going to stay," said Petrino after Auburn pulled back when the talks became public. "There won't be another job that I'll be interested in ‘cause I want my kids to say, 'I have a home. This is where I'm from.'"

But meetings about jobs at LSU, Notre Dame and Mississippi followed in 2005 and the Oakland Raiders in 2006 before signing a long term deal with UofL. He left for Atlanta the next year.

Petrino's coaching stint with the Falcons lasted less than a year. Then it was off to Arkansas. We all remember how that ended: a motorcycle crash, a graduate assistant and employee on the back of the bike, and an athletic director in the dark.

"I'm disappointed that Coach Petrino did not share with me when he had the opportunity to, the full extent of the accident and who was involved," said Jeff Long, Arkansas' Director of Athletics.

Western Kentucky put Petrino on the path to redemption. Labor Day weekend he celebrated with a win over the Kentucky Wildcats. The Hilltoppers went 8-4, setting 18 school offensive records in Petrino's first season.

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