Many University of Louisville football fans knew their time with coach Charlie Strong was running out as he continued to produce impressive teams for the Cardinals. And when they eventually lost him to the money pit that is the University of Texas, the search began for his successor.
While high profile names were tossed around as well as up and coming coordinators, athletic director Tom Jurich decided to go back to an old name and bring back Bobby Petrino – the man arguably more famous for his media and professionalism issues than his coaching successes.
So what does 2014 hold for Petrino and the Cardinals?
After losing starting quarterback Teddy Bridgwater to the NFL, the Cardinals are basically starting from scratch. While there is a good deal of talent on the roster, Petrino must find what the personality of his team is – a process that might take a few years.
However, when it comes to Petrino, life isn’t simply black and white. Whether it was his abrupt departure from the Atlanta Falcons or the incredibly insane motorcycle accident, drama has always followed Petrino since he originally left Louisville in 2007. Undoubtedly, this is a gamble on the part of Jurich and Louisville. Perhaps they knew that with no one else willing to take a chance on Petrino, now was their chance.
In his lone two seasons at Western Kentucky University, Petrino managed back to back 8-4 seasons – hardly what many expected with his hiring. Going back to UofL, Petrino regains his large athletic budget, increased yearly salary and
access to young female teaching assistants a perceived increase in roster talent that comes along with a high profile university.
Whether or not Petrino can succeed again at this level remains to be seen. However, if he is able to rebuild his once successful coaching career, then we will find out if Petrino is still that insufferable man we all think he is or if he truly has changed. If Louisville becomes a true NCAAF powerhouse and Petrino stays at the college going forward, then he may just be a new man. But let’s be honest, don’t we all expect him to leave the next time someone offers him more zeros on the end of his paycheck?
Cover Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
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