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Controversial Petrino sacked by Arkansas

Just days after a motorcycle accident left him in a neckbrace, the former Falcons coach finds himself out of a job.

Bobby Petrino after his recent motorcycle accident.
Bobby Petrino after his recent motorcycle accident.
Image: Gareth Patterson/AP/Press Association Images

THAT BOBBY PETRINO enjoys a tempestuous relationship with loyalty should come as no surprise.

He has, afterall, had 15 positions with 11 different employers over the past 24 seasons.

Indeed, he started his last job, as head coach of the Arkansas Razorback, just 24 hours after telling his previous employers – the Atlanta Falcons – he was going nowhere.

Today, Petrino finds himself looking for job number 16 having been sacked for his “manipulating and deceiving behaviour” following the revelations of the past ten days.

Petrino’s troubles began on April 1 when he crashed his Harley Davidson on a rural road, 20 miles outside Fayetteville, Arkansas.

For four days, the 51-year-old, a married father of four, claimed he was alone on the bike. However, subsequent police investigations discovered he had company in the form of 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell.

This came as a surprise to Petrino’s boss, the Arkansas director of athletics Jeff Long, particularly as Dorell had been hired by Petrino as his student-athlete development coordinator after what Long called “an unusually short time frame” on March 28.

It has since emerged that Petrino and Dorrell have been involved in a relationship for quite some time and it was this final revelation that saw Petrino fired in the middle of his seven-year contract.

“Coach Petrino abused his authority when over the past few weeks he made a staff decision and personal choices that benefited himself and jeopardized the integrity of the football program,” Long said.

He continued:

“Our expectations of character and integrity in our employees can be no less than what we expect of our students.”

Petrino’s actions mean he won’t be entitled to receive the $18 million buyout detailed in his contract as it contained a clause allowing the university to fire him without pay for conduct that “negatively or adversely affects the reputation of the (university’s) athletics programs in any way.”

It’s a sad end to Petrino’s career at Arkansas as he had steadily improved an embattled team, taking them to their first bowl game in 2010 and finishing with a 21-5 record over the past two years.

Reflecting on his termination by the Razorbacks, Petrino said: “My sole focus at this point is trying to repair the damage I’ve done to my family. They did not ask for any of this and deserve better.”

He continued, “I love football. I love coaching. I of course hope I can find my way back to the profession I love. In the meantime, I will do everything I can to heal the wounds I have created.”

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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Steven O'Rourke

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