Liar, scoundrel, opportunist, proven winner. Bobby Petrino has been called a lot of things. This fall he will again be called coach at the University of Louisville, the very program he ditched in 2006 for a short stint with the Atlanta Falcons.
After his cameo in Atlanta, Petrino went to Arkansas and enjoyed a few years of prolific points-scoring before crashing his motorcycle, getting caught romancing a staffer whose hire he may have illegally fast-tracked and subsequently trying to enlist state police to help cover up the affair.
Iím all for second chances, but this gives the impression that winning matters more to the Louisville Cardinals than having any self-respect. I get it. Every college wants a part of the money and recognition football generates.
Even Duke University who won 10 games for the first time since 1944, has taken steps to improve. Who can blame Louisville for re-hitching their wagon to Petrino?
Under former coach, Charlie Strong, the Louisville football teamís ďcore valuesĒ were out in the open for everyone to see.
On wallpaper outside the Cardinalsí meeting room, Strong listed the five things he most expected from his players:
2. Treat women with respect
3. No drugs
4. No stealing
5. No guns
Strong didnít have prolific offenses that threatened to put the program in the national spotlight. No, Strong emphasized winning and leading by example.
Louisville wants to be in the limelight so badly that sacrificing the integrity of the institution doesnít matter. At the end of the day, colleges only answer to the fans and the number of wins cures a lot of ills.
Petrino has an 83-30 record as a college coach and knows Xís and Oís as well as anyone. Petrino might be morally bankrupt, but he wins games and sells tickets, which seem to be the only things that really matter in major college athletics anymore.
Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich is one of the best in the business, helping the Cardinals build an athletics program that is the envy of schools with far more resources and tradition. Thatís why itís so surprising that Jurich didnít learn from the past, or at least ignored his conscience.
Iím all for second chances and making changes, but the Cardinals arenít a desperate program. Money and their facilities are the envy of many programs. This is a college program looking for a leader to take them to the next level. The next level of what, is the question.