American Football Wiki

Template:Infobox player coach Bobby Petrino (born March 10, 1961)[1] is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the head football coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, a position he has held since the 2008 season. Petrino served as the head football coach for the Louisville Cardinals from 2003 to 2006 and as the head coach of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons in 2007.

Early years

Petrino grew up in Helena, Montana, and graduated from Capital High in 1979. He attended hometown Carroll College, graduating with degrees in math and physical education in 1983. While at Carroll College he played quarterback and he began his coaching career there as a graduate assistant during the 1983 season. The next year he moved to Weber State University in the Big Sky Conference, coaching quarterbacks as a graduate assistant under head coach Mike Price. Petrino returned to his alma mater in 1985 as offensive coordinator. In each of his two seasons in that position, Carroll had the top-rated offense in NAIA football.[2][3]

College coaching career

Petrino spent a year as quarterbacks coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator under head coach John L. Smith. In 1992 he took a step up the collegiate coaching ladder when he became quarterbacks coach at Arizona State. During his two seasons at ASU, he oversaw the development of future All-American and former NFL QB Jake Plummer.[4]

In 1994 he moved to Nevada, serving as both offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. During his one season there, the Wolf Pack were second in the nation in both passing offense and total offense, and third in scoring offense. The next year he began a three-year stint as offensive coordinator at Utah State under John L. Smith.


Bobby Petrino at a Louisville practice.

Petrino arrived at University of Louisville in 1998 as offensive coordinator, following Smith. In his one season there as offensive coordinator, the Cardinals were top-ranked in Division I-A in scoring and total offense and posted the biggest positive turnaround among I-A football teams, winning six more games than in the 1997 season. Petrino left the collegiate ranks for three years. His place at Louisville was filled by Scott Linehan.

In 2002, Petrino returned to the college ranks, replacing Noel Mazzone as offensive coordinator under Tommy Tuberville at Auburn, whose offense significantly improved that season. He returned to Louisville in 2003 as head coach.

On July 13, 2006, Petrino signed a 10-year, $25.6 million contract with Louisville to stay on as head football coach. The deal gave Petrino a raise from $1 million to $1.6 million annually, and he would have been paid $2.6 million in the final year of the deal. The contract included a buyout clause of $1 million. [5] On January 7th, 2007 it was announced Petrino had accepted the head coaching position for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. [6]

On December 11, 2007, Petrino resigned as head coach of Atlanta Falcons and took the head coaching position at the University of Arkansas.[7] The Razorbacks ended the season with a record of 5-7 (2-6 in the SEC); The two conference wins were over Auburn, and a last second win against LSU in the annual Battle for the Golden Boot.

The Razorbacks under Bobby Petrino showed significant improvement in the 2009-10 season with analysts from both ESPN and CBS regularly citing starting quarterback Ryan Mallett as one of the most impressive collegiate quarterbacks in the country. The Razorbacks came close to upsetting the #1-ranked University of Florida Gators on October 19, 2009. That game culminated in a controversial 4th quarter personal foul call on an Arkansas lineman (giving the Gators a 15-yard penalty on their game-winning drive). The SEC ultimately issued an apology for the call, suspending the referee crew in question.

The Razorbacks also enjoyed success under Petrino in the 2010 season finishing 10-2. Leading them to their first BCS bowl appearance against Ohio State. In the All State Sugar Bowl, the Razorbacks lost in the final minutes when Ryan Mallett threw an interception nearing the Ohio State end-zone. Ohio State later vacated the win in 2011 after coming under fire from the NCAA for numerous violations of league rules.

Pro coaching career

Petrino's first stint in the NFL was 1999-2001, as he spent two seasons as the quarterbacks coach and a third as offensive coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Petrino was praised as an offensive mastermind. Tom Coughlin, then head coach of the Jaguars, called Petrino “the best play-caller I've ever been around.”[2]

After five seasons as a college assistant and head coach, Petrino returned to the NFL on January 7, 2007, accepting an offer to become the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.[8] His contract in Atlanta paid him $24 million over five years.

However, before Petrino's first training camp, it emerged that star quarterback Michael Vick had bankrolled an illegal dog fighting operation near his hometown in Newport News, Virginia. For all intents and purposes, the Falcons' 2007 season ended when Vick was arraigned on federal dog fighting charges on July 26. The terms of Vick's bail barred him from leaving Virginia before the November 26 trial, making it all but impossible for him to get into game shape in time to join the team. Petrino's game plan had been designed around making Vick a more complete quarterback and without him the Falcons appeared to be a rudderless team under his tenure.

On December 10, 2007, with three games left in the season, Petrino resigned his position in Atlanta to succeed Houston Nutt as the Arkansas Razorbacks head coach. He was heavily criticized for resigning before the end of the season and for notifying Falcons players through a note of explanation left in the locker room.[9][10]

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Louisville Cardinals (Conference USA) (2003–2004)
2003 Louisville 9–4 5–3 T–3rd L GMAC
2004 Louisville 11–1 8–0 1st W Liberty 7 6
Louisville Cardinals (Big East Conference) (2005–2006)
2005 Louisville 9–3 5–2 2nd L Gator 20 19
2006 Louisville 12–1 6–1 1st W Orange 6 5
Louisville: 41–9 24–6
Arkansas Razorbacks (Southeastern Conference) (2008–present)
2008 Arkansas 5–7 2–6 T–4th (West)
2009 Arkansas 8–5 3–5 4th (West) W Liberty
2010 Arkansas 10–3 6–2 T–2nd (West) L Sugar 12 12
2011 Arkansas 11–2 6–2 3rd (West) W Cotton 5 5
Arkansas: 34–17 17–15
Total: 75–26
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


Year Team Overall Finish Playoffs
2007 Atlanta Falcons 3–10 4th NFC South  


  1. Bobby Petrino University of Louisville, accessed January 16, 2008
  2. 2.0 2.1 All-Time Coaching Records. College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved on August 27, 2011.
  3. Bobby Petrino Biography. SEC Sports Fan. Retrieved on August 27, 2011.
  4. Bobby Petrino Bio The Orange Bowl, accessed January 16, 2008
  7. Petrino quits Falcons to take Arkansas job
  8. Falcons nab Louisville's Petrino to succeed Mora
  9. Sources: Petrino leaving NFL for Arkansas job, 11 December 2007.
  10. Petrino resigns as Falcons coach FOX Sports, 11 December 2007.

External links