Bobby Petrino hired at Western Kentucky: Victories over values

(Courier News)

Hog Wild: Petrino’s relationship with Dorrell (above) cost him his job and nearly his marriage.

Eight months ago, University of Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino disgraced himself, his family and the coaching profession. It was the latest scandal to stun college football fans still reeling from the horrific developments at Penn State University months earlier. Petrino’s fling with Jessica Dorrell cost him his job and the trust of his family. If it were not for the motorcycle accident that could’ve killed Petrino and a woman young enough to be his daughter, who knows if his wayward behavior is ever brought to light?

An up and coming Western Kentucky program has thought enough of Petrino and his baggage to offer him a seven-figure deal to lead their impressionable young men.

Hopefully not in his image.

Bobby Petrino is not the man I’m looking to have counseling my son on life’s issues while he’s away from home? Petrino comes across as someone who’s afraid to face adversity head on unless he’s forced to. At the time of his motorcycle accident last spring, Petrino was forced to come clean after failing to convince police he was the lone passenger that day.

He failed miserably as coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Petrino should’ve stood in front of his players admitting he wasn’t cut out for the head coaching gig. Instead, he sent “Dear John” letters to each of his players announcing his departure.

Now Petrino returns to college football a humbled and changed man. I approach his words of conviction with the same sideways glance reserved for anyone expressing remorse because they were caught. But I’m the last person Bobby Petrino has to prove anything to.

My gripe isn’t with Petrino because he’s a human being with faults. No beef with Western Kentucky either. College athletics is about a dollar and WKU was looking for a name to advance their budding program.

Regardless of questionable character.

My beef is with NCAA officials who are quick to put an all out blitz on student athletes. Breadwinners for an entity unwilling to break bread. Scores of young men and women have escaped financial hardships at home only to encounter similar circumstances on a college campus. Means for one’s survival toe the line of losing a scholarship and in some cases freedom.

On the b-side, coaches like Pete Carroll and Jim Tressell are allowed to run and hide behind the shield of the NFL as shamed programs try to rebuild from the NCAA-sanctioned pillage.

In cases involving African-American head coaches on the collegiate gridiron, the shame and scrutiny lingers a little longer.

Ousted University of Colorado coach Jon Embree was brought in to steady a program that went through three head coaches in 15 seasons. Rick Neuheisel, Gary Barnett and Dan Hawkins compiled a 98-86 record and only eight seasons winning seasons. Only Barnett won a conference championship in that span.

The Buffaloes 4-21 record over two seasons gave the athletic department leverage to fire Embree — who graduated 100 percent of his players, none suffered any disciplinary action. This isn’t a program on the cusp of greatness in need of a proven coach.

The University of Colorado football program has been and will remain irrelevant for the forseeable future.

Neuheisel, Barnett and Hawkins were given the time needed to build (or destroy) the program to their liking. Funny how the athletic department became concerned with winning and losing when Embree was still coaching players from a previous regime responsible for winning 32 percent of its games over four seasons. Jon Embree’s two seasons on campus will fade faster than an indian summer in the mountains

Embree shed tears at his final press conference as his voice teetered somewhere between heartbreak and anger. Through reddened eyes, Embree proclaimed, “We don’t get second chances”. It didn’t take an anthropology major to figure out who Embree was referring to. This man was one of only fifteen African-American football coaches in the college ranks. And like many before him it more than likely will be his only shot at this level.

New Buffs coach Mike MacIntyre will be given the keys to the castle and court jester Bobby Petrino will dance a new blue grass jig.

Coaches of color had better heed the words of Jon Embree, the wall to the castle just became a little higher, the arrows more piercing and the drawbridge has been stretched out a little further.

One Response to “Bobby Petrino hired at Western Kentucky: Victories over values”

  1. TC says:

    So ridiculous all the tongue-wagging and tutting that goes on if a collegiate player takes a bit of financial help or heaven forbid, gets in the most minor of legal scrapes. These millionaire coaches who, as you say, are supposed to be leaders, are frauds. It’s such an emperor isn’t wearing any clothes situation.