Tag Archives: head coach

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.”


As of Wednesday, University of Louisville football head coach Charlie Strong will make a base salary $3.7 million per year, a $1.4 million raise from his salary last year.

UofL safeguards thriving football legacy by retaining Strong for another seven years

By Sam Draut–

As of Wednesday, University of Louisville football head coach Charlie Strong will make a base salary $3.7 million per year, a $1.4 million raise from his salary last year.


This Wednesday, the University of Louisville announced that a new contract had been established between the university and the football program’s head coach, Charlie Strong. This new contract maintains that Strong will remain the head coach of U of L football through the year 2020.

The deal will make Strong the seventh highest paid coach in college football, with a base salary of $3.7 million per year—a $1.4 million raise. This move now makes Strong the highest paid coach in the Big East conference, and when Louisville switches to the ACC, it is expected that he will remain the highest paid coach.

Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich frequently claimed money would not be a problem in keeping Charlie Strong. Jurich adamantly said Louisville would not be outbid for the services of Strong as head football coach.

Jurich left the proof in the paper, as Strong turned down the vacancy at Tennessee in early December with a promise to rework his contract at Louisville.

On Wednesday, Jan. 23, Strong’s new contract made him the seventh highest-paid coach in college football. Strong will make a base salary of $3.7 million per year, a $1.4 million raise from what he made last year.

Also, the deal was crafted for the long term; the eight year extension takes Strong through 2020.

This deal makes Strong the highest paid coach in the Big East. When Louisville switches to the ACC, he will most likely remain the high paid coach.

After three seasons at Louisville, Strong is 25-14 overall with two Big East Championships and two bowl victories, including the Sugar Bowl victory over Florida. This was enough evidence for Jurich to restructure a new deal.

“He’s already lived up to it; he’s already earned it. In every aspect of his coaching ability, he has an A+ to me,” Jurich said.

For players, fans and recruits, the details of the contract provided comforting plans for the future.

If Strong leaves in 2013, he must pay a $5 million buyout. That number decreases by $625,000 every year, but still remains a substantial sum for any program interested in Strong.

“Charlie did not balk at anything. It’s a hefty buyout, but we want to make sure this is a long-term contract for both parties,” Jurich said.

The two-time Big East Coach of the Year is put into the ranks of Nick Saban, Les Miles, Urban Meyer, Bob Stoops and Mack Brown in regards to salary.

Along with the move to the ACC in 2014, Strong’s new contract should improve the stability of the program, an ever present factor in recruiting battles.

This is not Jurich’s first long term deal with Louisville coaches. He emphasized the importance of keeping good coaches for numerous years.

“I like stability.” Jurich said. “I believe in stability.”

The coaching world is always subject to change, but Strong’s words echo the new contract that could potentially keep him employed to the age of 60.

“You can buy a person a lot, but you can’t buy his heart,” said Strong. “His heart is where his enthusiasm is, where his loyalty is. My heart and enthusiasm is with the University of Louisville.”

Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal