Christopher Smith

Petrino: Louisville Is "Destination Job"

Created on Jan. 09, 2014 1:45 PM EST

New Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino is stuck with the Cardinals for better or worse after signing what's been reported as a seven-year deal with a $10 million buyout.

During his last stint at Louisville, he looked elsewhere several times before finally leaving for the Atlanta Falcons, but now he insists it's the job he most covets.

"I want everyone here to know this is my destination job. … This is where I want to finish my career," Petrino said at his introductory press conference, adding that his first mistake was ever leaving the school.

Petrino's brief stint with the Falcons can only be classified as a disaster on and off the field, and he escaped in the middle of the night for Arkansas, only to wreck his motorcycle and unintentionally reveal an affair with a young assistant. After being banished to Western Kentucky for a year, he's back at a major-conference program (ACC). He has a reputation for being in reality the cartoonish/sketch version of Nick Saban, dictator, but he's also managed to win at all three college schools, including an 8-4 year with the Hilltoppers this year.

Cue the public relations spin machine.

"I believe Bobby Petrino’s a changed man,” athletic director Tom Jurich told reporters Thursday. “Bobby has convinced me he’s a changed man. I told Bobby the coach I had here is not the coach I want to hire. I want the new Bobby.”

Petrino was 41-9 with an Orange Bowl win during his previous stint for Louisville, but it will be interesting to see how he fares recruiting against Florida State, Clemson and Miami when those institutions have a mound of information to use against him. Petrino was by far the most proven candidate for the job and could be an out-of-the-box decision by Jurich. The program must contend with the loss of potential No. 1 overall pick and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and no longer will be able to beat up on the American Athletic Conference, formerly the Big East.

He replaces Charlie Strong, who accepted the job at Texas.

In a move that may be even more embarrassing than the Petrino hire for Louisville, UAB head coach Garrick McGee is leaving the Blazers to become Petrino's offensive coordinator. McGee coached UAB to five wins in two seasons before jumping ship for a lesser position. He served as Petrino's offensive coordinator in 2010 and 2011 at Arkansas.

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