As most readers here probably know, I consider Bobby Petrino, Western Kentucky’s new head football coach, to be the scumbag of all scumbags; an awful guy who should never been allowed within 100 feet of high school or college athletes. His hiring two days ago sickened me, in that it showed—yet again—that winning trumps all; that even colleges and universities care significantly less about character development and moral fortitude than Ws and Ls.
That said, many disagree with me.
One person with an opposing take is Jeff Tew, a college football fan and Petrino supporter. After we sparred back and forth on Twitter, Jeff kindly agreed to come here and offer his take. You can follow Jeff on Twitter here, and he blogs occasionally here. I thank him for taking the time …
Two days ago, after an eight-month hiatus from coaching which was sparked from an affair with an employee and subsequent cover up to authorities at the University of Arkansas and Arkansas state police, Bobby Petrino was hired as the head football coach at Western Kentucky University.
The hire has sparked angst and vitriol amongst some fans of college athletics who have called it everything from unethical to immoral, absurd to despicable. Moralists and those with the highest of standards have asked, “How could a university president hire a man who was fired from his former employer for not only having a public affair on his wife, but did so with a university employee he hired then lied to university officials and the police in the aftermath that ensued?”
The best answer to this question: Todd Stewart, Athletic Director for Western Kentucky University, hired the absolute best-possible available coach for his football program.
Those who despised the hire just spewed their beverage of choice all over their computer or smart phone after reading that statement. Let’s all take a step back, take a deep breath and reexamine the situation.
Bobby Petrino is a football coach. Let me repeat that again so it sinks in—Bobby Petrino is a football coach. Petrino’s job is not to be faithful to his wife or to even tell the truth, nor is his job to provide a moral compass for 18-to-22-year-old football players. Petrino’s job is to win football games.
Looking at Petrino’s record, he does that pretty damn well.
At Louisville, Petrino went 41-9 in his four seasons as head coach. He averaged 10 wins per season, won two conference titles and took the Cards to a BCS bowl game which brought priceless attention and notoriety to a college which had been strictly known as a basketball school.
After a brief and embarrassing stint with the Atlanta Falcons in 2007, Petrino was hired as head coach at Arkansas. In his final two years in Fayetteville, Petrino posted back-to-back 10-win seasons in the toughest division of the toughest conference in the nation and in the 2010 season took the Arkansas Razorbacks to their first BCS Bowl in the BCS era.
To some of you, these stats mean nothing and Petrino’s shortcomings in his personal life fully engulf any good he has done and could possibly ever do on the sidelines as head coach. There is absolutely nothing I can say or do to sway your opinion or change your mind.
Many of you may be asking where my moral compass lies. In my world, I see a little black, a little white and a plethora of gray. I have been married to my best friend for a year and a half. In September of 2012 we welcomed our first child, a son. I cannot fathom a situation where I would ever have an affair on my wife. I also don’t consider it my job to lay blame or be the judge, jury and executioner to the choices anyone else makes in his/her personal life.
Petrino had an affair on his wife and lied to authorities in the hours after his notorious motorcycle wreck with his mistress, Jessica Dorrell. Arkansas fired him, the police did not press charges and his wife forgave him. Anyone hung up on anything else with this situation would be best suited to move on.
Bobby Petrino is not a sex offender. He’s not a convicted murderer. He is not the leader of a pyramid scheme that duped hundreds of thousands of the elderly out of their retirement.
Bobby Petrino is an adulterer, which lumps him in a category with more than 50 percent of the rest of United States. Another well-known adulterer is President William Jefferson Clinton and here’s a Newsflash: He was damn good at his job and still has the highest approval rate of any President in history … AND HE WAS IMPEACHED!
While the postseason coaching carousel has turned about this year, Clay Travis, famed sports journalist and owner of OutKickTheCoverage.com, gave the best rendition to answers I have heard concerning questions of Bobby Petrino. In a recent interview on The Out of Bounds Show on 105.1FM in Jackson, Mississippi, Clay said (I’m paraphrasing here), “I don’t know about you, but if I’m about to go into a major surgery, I could care less if the surgeon has had an affair or multiple affairs on his wife. If he’s the best damned surgeon in the world, I could care less about his personal life.”
I could not have given my opinion on the matter any better. If we remove every coach from the sidelines who has had an affair on his wife, the sidelines of college football would be desolate.
Clay was in attendance at Western Kentucky for the press conference of Petrino and called the hire a “homerun”. I’ll go a step further: The hire was a grand slam, down by three in the bottom of the ninth in game seven of the World Series.
Western Kentucky and Bobby Petrino will both benefit from this hire and I will make you all a guarantee: Within three years, Bobby Petrino will be coaching a major college football program and flourishing … just as he’s always done.