Tag Archives: Bobby Petrino

Photo curtosy of  isportsweb.com

University of Louisville, Adidas strike new deal

By Annie Moore

University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich together with Adidas executives announced on Thursday the University’s new contract with Adidas. The new deal extends the partnership between the two for another four years, through 2018-19.

The Portland, Or. based company will supply uniforms, footwear, and accessories for all 23 of Louisville’s athletic programs.

“It’s a very exciting day for us in the athletic department,” Jurich said. “The number one objective I had going into this, was how do we insure that our student-athletes have the premiere uniforms and apparel as we move forward, and this contract accomplishes all off those things.”

In addition to athletic outfitting, Adidas will provide ‘extensive investments in the the Cardinals’ athletic programs including advertising campaigns, equipment room expansion, digital/video technology, support for national champion spirit squads, a formalized sport administration internship program… and co-branding opportunities… including TaylorMade equipment within the UofL Golf Club.’ according to the press release issued from the athletic department on Thursday.

Louisville football head coach, Bobby Petrino was on hand as well, and excited about the new deal.

“This is a great thing for our players, to be able to have the top of the line uniforms, the materials that we’ll use, to keep them dryer, lighter, faster, and then the apparel,” Petrino said. “One of the things I’ve always felt is important is for your players to look good, feel good, you have a chance then to go out and play well.”

Petrino was reluctant to comment on whether the Cards would be unveiling on of its new five uniforms in the opening game against Miami on September 1, but instead said that it would be very fun to see what happens with the apparel down the road.

“I think you’re going to see  things on the cutting edge,” Petrino said. “New things that will be exciting for everybody, the players, the recruits and the fans. We’re going to be on the edge of the fence as far as the top of the line with the way you get to look, the way you get to dress and the attitude you play with.”

The deal will also benefit fans, with additions such as new spirit shirts for student season ticket holders and ACC inaugural year fan giveaways.

“It’s going to be fun now, get ready because it’s going to be fun,” Petrino said. “I can’t wait, to be honest with you.”


Photo courtesy of 247sports.com

Petrino rounds up recruiting class despite late hire

By Sam Draut

As the dust settled on National Signing Day, Louisville collected 20 letters of intent which ranked in the mid-40s nationally by recruiting sites like Rivals, Scout, ESPN, and 247Sports.

It is a relatively flavorless recruiting class in Bobby Petrino’s return, but in a limited period of time, he was able to address the necessary components.

Petrino was hired on January 9, and as he accumulated his staff, they only had three weeks to salvage the 2014 recruiting class.

“We’re excited about this class. I can’t say enough about the hard work that our assistants put in to make this happen in such a small time frame,” Petrino said. “We had a very short period of time to work with, but we were able to go out and create some relationships.”

Louisville held onto local Trinity product Reggie Bonnafon.  The quarterback committed in early January 2013, and remained true to his commitment after the coaching change.

“Teams really came after Reggie Bonnafon. He actually had another visit set up, but he stayed strong,” Petrino said. “It was huge to get him here.”

The only in state recruit this year, Bonnafon was ranked as the 22nd best quarterback nationally by Scout.

“We’re telling Reggie Bonnafon that we want him to compete for the starting job right away,” Petrino said.

Jake Smith, John Miller and Jamon Brown head into their senior season, three offensive linemen who have started the past three seasons.

This leaves a huge whole in offensive line in 2015, but Louisville was able to bring in four offensive linemen to eventually fill the positions.

Kelby Johnson is a junior college transfer and could potentially compete for the starting tackle position this year.  After Johnson, Louisville brought in three high school linemen who would presumably redshirt next season.  Lukayus McNeil and Danny Burns were ranked by Rivals nationally as top 40 offensive linemen.

“Kelby Johnson was a guy we really wanted because of his experience. He’s played in this conference,” Petrino said. “He’ll compete right out of the gate for a starting job once spring ball starts.”

Defensively, Louisville received a surprising commitment from Sharieff Rhaheed, an outside linebacker from Fort Pierce, Florida.  Rhaheed should fit well as Louisville transitions to a 3-4 defense under defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.  Rhaheed was ranked nationally as the 24th best outside linebacker and also received offers from Alabama, USC, and Michigan State among others.

As Louisville moves to the ACC, they will continue to recruit against the other 13 teams in the conference.

The Cardinals recruiting class ranked eighth in the ACC according to Scout. Louisville will play in the Atlantic Division, where their recruiting class finished fourth in the seven team division behind Florida State, N.C. State, and Clemson.

In his first stint at Louisville, Petrino was able to find hidden gems while on the recruiting trail such as former two star prospect turned Louisville stars and future NFL draft picks like Harry Douglas, Amobi Okoye, Breno Giacomini and Gary Barnidge.

“You have to trust your own evaluation and go through the process. It’s easier said than done to trust yourself and not worry about the stars,” Petrino said.

As important as finding diamonds in the rough is, bringing in high profile players as the program grows is critical.

While at Louisville from 2003-06, Petrino’s recruiting classes ranked 48th nationally in 2003, 54th nationally in 2004, 43rd nationally in 2005 and 26th nationally in 2006.

The Louisville staff inherits a program built on solid recruiting classes over the past few years, which allows the staff to choose to redshirt some of the 18 high school athletes instead of playing them out of necessity because of depth.

With the staff put together and the move to the ACC nearly complete, Louisville’s recruiting classes should continue to improve as Petrino continues to reconnect with the fertile recruiting grounds in the Southeast.

“I like to recruit the states of Alabama, Florida and Georgia because I learned when I was down there with the Jaguars just how much the young guys down there are engrossed in football. I like to recruit players who grew up like that,” Petrino said.

“My philosophy is that from today on, we’re getting these guys prepared to play next fall,” Petrino said. “They need to have that mentality as they go into the weight room.”

Photo by Michelle Lewis

Welcome back Bobby

By Michelle Lewis

When Charlie Strong said “I’m not cut that way” both Louisville football players and fans believed him. People felt like, finally; finally we have a coach who wants to be here, who wants to build his legacy, a coach who means it when he says he’s not going anywhere. Maybe he meant it at the time but even if he did, he still left. Not only did he leave the school and the fans, he left his players without even telling them he was leaving.

It wasn’t the first time a coach has left U of L; it wasn’t even the worst, most painful way Louisville has been left by a coach. During the Cardinals’ bowl game in 2002 players learned from reporters that John L Smith was leaving for Michigan State. No, you didn’t read that wrong, they found out during half time of the bowl game. Then, his exit got worse,  uglier and more painful. During an interview Smith answered a question about U of L and its fans by saying “The people here have no idea where they are on the food chain. Does that make sense? You better know where you are on the food chain and what sharks are doing. They think they’re at the top of the food chain, and they’re not.” Ouch, talk about stinging.

Bobby Petrino was introduced as Louisville’s new head coach at the same time Smith was cleaning out his desk down the hall. People know what happened next. Petrino led the school to a 41-9 record overall, a 20-game home win streak, and a 4-0 record against in-state rival UK. The Cardinals went to a bowl game every year under Petrino and won the 2006 Orange Bowl finishing the season ranked third in the country, U of L’s highest ever ranking.

After the 2006 season Petrino was hired to be the head coach of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. For Louisville fans, this was devastating. Petrino had interviewed for other jobs but had signed a contract extension just before the season and while he had interviewed for other jobs before nobody expected his departure given the season the Cards had just wrapped up, the talent returning the next year, and the expectations that it was finally time to compete for a national championship. The NFL is a game changer though and when most are honest, few blame him for taking the job.

When Athletic Director Tom Jurich learned that Charlie Strong was leaving he wanted to move fast selecting a new coach. He didn’t have to look far. The new head coach was about 100 miles away and already had a daughter at U of L and a son who had led Trinity High School to a state football championship. He and his wife were already familiar with both Louisville and the university. Jurich knew the coach but needed to be convinced. After a nine-hour interview, both Jurich and Louisville fans were saying, “Welcome back, Bobby”.

Many fans were ecstatic, some less than enthused, but none doubt that Jurich’s chose a very talented coach who wins. Petrino could lose 50 games straight and still have a career winning record. Louisville fans have been burned in the past though and those who doubt this hire do so because of his previous departure. They feel that’s the reason not to hire him again. They fear having their hearts broken again. Most don’t admit that though, instead they cite his tenures with the Falcons (he quit after going 3-10) and then Arkansas where he was fired after having a motorcycle accident with his mistress on board then lying about it.

Yes, his actions in both instances were less than honorable but had nothing to do with his time at Louisville or why he is the right choice for Louisville now. To figure that out you can start by listening to what his former players say.

“Those of you bashing Bobby Petrino…. Explain to me what did he ever do to Louisville besides win games?” tweeted former Louisville football player Richard Raglan. Another alum, current Chicago Bear Michael Bush said “Now the question is how I feel about it. I’m all for it. People mess up in life. You live and learn. The bottom line is Bobby Petrino wins games.”

Nearly 100 former Cardinals voiced their support for Coach Petrino through tweets, interviews, phone calls  and emails. In addition, NFL wide receiver Roddy White said through multiple media that he’d send his son to play for Petrino given the chance and CBS Sports’ Greg Doyle wrote an article on why he thinks Petrino is the right choice and deserves the second chance and basketball analyst Dick Vitale voiced his support as well.

More important than what any of them think or even than what fans think, is how the players feel. Many were hurt and disappointed by Strong’s departure and especially by not having been told he was leaving. Many learned he was Texas bound from ESPN coverage and weren’t sure how they felt about Petrino. Then they talked to his former players, to people who were around when he was at Louisville before, and then to him and they were won over. The guys on offense were likely the easiest to win over once they had seen footage of his offense. Several current players loved seeing the comments he made about rival UK, which if you haven’t seen these, go directly to Google and YouTube and check these out for yourself, and just as many fell in love with the black uniforms they saw the Cards wearing in big games.

“Things are going to change……I’m good with that” tweeted defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin. He later added “As a senior for my squad, and the first player to speak to coach Petrino, I can speak for the team and say we’re about to have a hell of a year.”

If Jurich and the players are convinced he deserves the chance to be Louisville’s coach again and his family has forgiven his mistakes then fans should stand with them and say, again, welcome back, Bobby.


Photo by Michelle Lewis

Bobby Petrino back at the helm

By Annie Moore—

Former University of Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino is taking back the reins of the football program. Petrino was offered the position Wednesday, and his appointment was announced at a press conference and fan reception on Thursday.

“It’s great to be home,” was Petrino’s constant refrain during the conference. His prodigal return to Louisville after his fall from grace just eight years ago has been met with varied responses since his name was added to athletic director Tom Jurich’s short list of candidates. Jurich has vehemently confirmed that he is committed to making the best choice for Louisville.

“I will not let this place down, this place means everything to me” Jurich said. “Bobby and I have a lot of history together. Some of it’s great, some of it is not great, and I knew that. The coach he was eight years ago is not the coach I want to hire. 180 degrees he’s changed, I told him I only wanted 170 degrees, that other ten percent was the old guy we want back.”

Petrino was head coach at Louisville from 2003 to 2006, before leaving for a brief stint in the National Football League with the Atlanta Falcons. After leaving the Falcons after just 13 games, Petrino was head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, where he infamously was fired for inappropriate conduct. Petrino just finished up his first season as the head coach at Western Kentucky University.

Petrino was 41-9 in his first three years with the Cardinals, including the program’s first BCS bowl win, and he went 4-0 against the University of Kentucky in his time at Louisville. While this gained him favor with fans, the manner in which he left not only ruffled the feathers of CardNation, but many inside the department, Jurich included.

Headed into its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference and coming off the sting of Charlie Strong’s departure, many fans are reluctant to trust a man who has already scorned the program once. Petrino addressed these concerns Thursday morning.

“I want everybody here to know, this is my destination job, I can’t wait to get started,” Petrino said. “It’s a privilege to see how everything has moved along, we’re now going into the ACC. It’s a great challenge to see the schedule coming up and I can’t wait to play that schedule.”

University of Louisville President James Ramsey weighed in on the decision to hire the estranged coach.

“Every chance we get to talk about the University of Louisville, we talk about the amazing trajectory we’re on,” Ramsey said. “It’s a trajectory that is amazing in terms of academics and athletics, our mandate and goal is to continue on that trajectory. To do that, we have to have the right people. We’ve got the very best person to lead the Cardinal football team forward into the ACC. This is Tom’s decision, but it is supported by the university.”

While the University of Louisville Athletic Association unanimously confirmed Petrino Thursday morning, the jury is still out on whether the new and improved Petrino will live up to the hype. One thing made perfectly clear, is that he is ready to start this new chapter at Louisville.

“I’m more energized, I’m more excited than I’ve ever been, to be back,” Petrino said. “Having the opportunity to be in the stadium brings back some of the best memories. I’ve made mistakes both professionally and personally, it’s just something that I’m not going to do again.This is our home, I’m just really excited to be a Card.”