Arkansas brings back former coach Bobby Petrino as offensive coordinator

Arkansas brings back former coach Bobby Petrino as offensive coordinator

Bobby Petrino returns to Arkansas.

Hours after sources confirmed to Ross Dellinger of Yahoo Sports that the Razorbacks had finalized a deal with their former head coach to be the school’s offensive coordinator, Petrino tweeted that he would return to school Wednesday morning.

It’s an unexpected return for the longtime college football coach after he was fired in the spring of 2012 following a motorcycle accident that exposed an inappropriate relationship with an athletic department employee.

Arkansas was in the market for an offensive coordinator after the firing of Dan Enos during the 2023 season. The Razorbacks finished the season 4-8, but athletic director Hunter Juraszyk announced before the final game of the season that coach Sam Pittman would return in 2024.

Meanwhile, Petrino is looking for a job after Texas A&M fired coach Jimbo Fisher with two games remaining in the season. Fisher hired Petrino to be the Aggies’ offensive coordinator ahead of the 2023 season after Petrino was initially hired to run UNLV’s offense.

Before moving to UNLV — and later to A&M — Petrino was the head coach at the FCS level at Missouri State. The Bears went 18-15 in his three years at the school from 2020-22.

The Razorbacks improved in each of Petrino’s four seasons in Fayetteville from 2008-11 and were 11-2 at the end of the 2011 season after beating Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl.

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Things unraveled for Petrino in Arkansas months later, when he crashed his motorcycle on an Arkansas highway. After saying he was alone on the motorcycle, the married Petrino admitted he had been riding the motorcycle with a recently hired employee before the police report was issued.

Less than two weeks after the incident, Arkansas fired Petrino for cause. He was in a relationship with Jessica Dorrell for several months before she was hired as the student-athlete coordinator for the football team. In announcing Petrino’s firing, then-Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said he would not have allowed Petrino to hire Dorrell if their relationship had been revealed.

Petrino spent the 2012 season out of football before being hired as Western Kentucky’s head coach before the 2013 season. After one year at WKU, he returned to Louisville — his first college coaching job — and was the Cardinals’ head coach for five seasons. Louisville won at least eight games in each season from 2014-17, but collapsed in 2018 with a 2-8 record and 0-7 mark in ACC play.

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