The new Western Kentucky coach returns to college football after being fired by Arkansas in April for actions stemming from his involvement with a woman in the Razorbacks' athletic department.
DAN PATRICK:How many phone calls did you get with potential job offers?
December 24, 2012
BOBBY PETRINO: There were a number of calls. Some were about head coaching jobs and some were about offensive coordinator [jobs]. The thing that enticed me so much about this was [Western Kentucky athletic director] Todd Stewart's passion and aggressiveness. We made it happen in a very quick time.
DP:Why Western Kentucky?
BP: It was a family decision. This is a place we're very familiar with. [Petrino was the coach at Louisville from 2003 to '06.] My kids call Kentucky home. I have a daughter who plays golf at Louisville. I sat down with my wife, Becky, and all our children.
DP:Any thought to not coaching this season?
BP: No, I grew up a coach's son. I've always felt that I didn't have just a job; I had a way of life.
DP:What did you learn from the fallout at Arkansas?
BP: I learned that, No. 1, I'm always going to keep my eye on my family. I drifted away from what has always been most important to me, which is my wife and my children. I learned how much I enjoyed working with young men and watching them excel and being able to look in their eyes and see the smile on their faces when they did something I told them they were going to [be able to] do.
DP:How much will you have to explain to parents when you recruit their children?
BP: I'm going to have to explain that I made a mistake, just like a lot of people have, but that it's made me a better person, a better father and a better coach. There will be a time when their son makes a mistake. I'll be able to help him deal with it, give him a second chance and [a shot at] some redemption.
DP:Would you say you've been your own worst enemy?
BP: This last situation at Arkansas was all on me. I know the difference between right and wrong, and I chose to do wrong. I spent the last eight months working on repairing the damage I did with my family. I feel good about where we're at. Becky and I have been through counseling. We've worked hard at it.
DP:When did college football coaches stop considering loyalty as they jump from school to school?
BP: I can't speak on all of that, [only] what went on with my career and how fortunate I am to have another chance. Now it's time to earn back the trust.
DP:Is this your last coaching job?
BP: I don't know. I wish I could predict the future. I'm looking forward to the challenge. I want to build a program that goes to a bowl game every year. We need to get ranked in the Top 25 on a consistent basis and pull a Boise State, where we get in a BCS game.
DP:How do you think Bret Bielema will do at Arkansas?
BP: He'll do good. He's a very good coach. I hope they have a lot of success. Those players mean a lot to me. I let them down.
"Players tried to hurt me every time I stepped on the field. I understand Bountygate, but knowing guys were doing that every game whether they were getting paid for it or not didn't really faze me. It was part of the inner workings of our game. When I played [the Saints] I didn't feel like they were going after my knees or trying to end my career."
—KURT WARNER, FORMER NFL QB, ON TESTIMONY THAT A SAINTS COACH SAID HIS PLAYERS WOULD END WARNER'S CAREER
This week takes on to see who has the better tailgating scene. Go to SI.com/grillseekers to learn who comes out on top.
Joe Montana told me he's heard people say he was just a "system quarterback" with the 49ers, since Steve Young also had success in San Francisco right after he did. I asked Montana if that bothered him. "No," he said, laughing, "because I have those 'system' rings." ... Clippers forward Blake Griffin said he wonders what would have happened if he had pursued football. But he doesn't quite buy it when NFL players say they could play in the NBA. "Terrell Owens was at our practice facility a lot this summer begging coaches for a 10-day contract," Griffin said.... I asked Tommy Tuberville if leaving Texas Tech to be head football coach at Cincinnati was an upgrade to a better job. "They're all about the same," Tuberville said. "It's what you make out of it. This is a business. You're not going to retire, usually, like some coaches have over the years. It doesn't happen that way." ... Former Hoyas star Patrick Ewing commented on seven schools, including Georgetown, leaving the Big East. "I'm so disappointed," Ewing told me. "They shouldn't have let all those football teams in in the first place."