Nov 28, 2023 - News

Bobby Petrino may return to Arkansas, years after motorcycle scandal

Former head coach Bobby Petrino of the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2010. Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Bobby Petrino may return to Arkansas Razorbacks football as offensive coordinator, according to ESPN.

Flashback: Petrino was fired as head coach in 2012 after hiring a woman he was in a romantic relationship with, which came to light after an infamous motorcycle accident with her as the passenger.

  • Petrino initially lied in public statements, saying he was alone during the accident, which occurred about 20 miles southeast of Fayetteville, home to the university.
  • Petrino gave the employee, former volleyball player Jessica Dorrell, a $20,000 gift, which he did not disclose.

Context: The Razorbacks have struggled lately with painful losses like 7-3 against Mississippi State and 48-10 against Auburn, prompting some to question whether the program will keep head coach Sam Pittman another year. Athletics Director Hunter Yurachek confirmed Pittman will be sticking around.

What they're saying: Nothing yet. A spokesperson for Razorback Athletics did not respond to Axios' request for confirmation late Tuesday afternoon.

What everyone else is saying: The internet may have hiccuped for a few minutes as X, formerly called Twitter, did a collective huh!? Love and hate, here's a sample:

  • "Hiring Bobby Petrino as OC is a huge step in the right direction. He brings more discipline and leadership plus a great offensive mind. To err is human, forgive [divine]." — Wally Hall, managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
  • "Will Sam Pittman and Hunter Yurachek make a deal with the devil to Make the Hogs Great Again[?]" — Greg Harton, editorial page editor, Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
  • "Petrino checks a lot of boxes," wrote Mike Irwin, sports reporter for KNWA-TV. "He would not be a boring hire (very important) … But they have to get him approved."
  • "Petrino's conduct was unconscionable in April 2012 and it remains so today, especially considering his success and his apparent pride in being here. The optics of this decision will naturally and deservedly be subject to an initial flurry of volatile takes." — Arkansas Times' Beau Wilcox

💭 Our thought bubble: Petrino's downfall was the primary topic of conversation in bars, bedrooms and broadcasts for weeks. It was salacious, but also damn embarrassing.

  • It's taken fans years to get over it and now … this.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios NW Arkansas.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More NW Arkansas stories

No stories could be found

NW Arkansaspostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios NW Arkansas.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more