Western Kentucky University has named Bobby Petrino its 18th head football coach in school history, WKU Director of Athletics Todd Stewart announced on Monday. Petrino brings a wealth of coaching experience and success to WKU, owning a 75-26 career record as a collegiate head coach, with seven bowl game appearances, including appearances in the 2011 BCS Sugar Bowl with the University of Arkansas and the 2007 BCS Orange Bowl with the University of Louisville.
Petrino becomes only the eighth WKU head coach since 1948, taking over a program primed for its first-ever bowl game appearance on December 26 against Central Michigan in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, and coming off back-to-back seven-win seasons. As previously announced on Friday, WKU defensive coordinator Lance Guidry will coach the Hilltoppers in the bowl game as interim head coach.
In his eight seasons as a collegiate head coach with Louisville and Arkansas, Petrino led his teams to a bowl game in seven of the eight years, including four 10-win seasons, leading both the Cardinals and the Razorbacks to their first BCS bowl games in school history. Petrino guided Arkansas and Louisville to top-10 finishes nationally three different times, including finishing the 2006 and the 2011 seasons ranked fifth in the Associated Press poll.
In his most recent coaching stop at Arkansas, Petrino led the Razorbacks to a 34-17 record in four years, going 29-10 in his final three years, increasing his win total in each of his four seasons with Arkansas. In just his second season in Fayetteville, Petrino led Arkansas to an 8-5 record and its first bowl win since 2003, winning over East Carolina in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The success of the 2009 season propelled Arkansas into the national spotlight in 2010, as the Razorbacks went 10-3, earning a bid to the AllState Sugar Bowl against Ohio State — the program's first-ever BCS bowl bid. Petrino followed up the 2010 season with a remarkable 11-win campaign in 2011, matching the single-season school record. Arkansas closed out the year with a win over Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl, boosting the Razorbacks into the No. 5 national ranking in the final AP poll.
Arkansas led the Southeastern Conference in passing offense (300.7) for the third consecutive year in 2011, while also leading the conference in total offense (438.1) and scoring offense (36.8). In Petrino's final two seasons at Arkansas, the Razorbacks went 13-1 at home, including a perfect 7-0 at home in 2011.
Overall, Petrino's four years at Arkansas resulted in a plethora of school records falling. In 2008, the team broke eight school records and in 2009 it set or matched 26 individual or team records. In 2010, the Razorbacks set or matched 48 individual or team records, while 2011 saw 24 more records fall. On the individual stage, tight end D.J. Williams claimed the school's first-ever John Mackey Award in 2011, given annually to the nation's top tight end. WKU senior tight end Jack Doyle was a semi-finalist for the award this season. Petrino also coached quarterback Tyler Wilson to first team All-SEC honors in 2011, becoming the first Arkansas quarterback to earn that honor. Kick returner Joe Adams was the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year in 2011, while also being one of five finalists for the 2011 Paul Hornung Award, an award that WKU junior running back Antonio Andrews is up for in 2012. Adams was recognized as an All-American following the 2011 season, and was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Developing student-athletes has been a constant for Petrino, as he has worked with numerous players that have gone on to careers at the professional level, including an impressive track record developing quarterbacks. As a head coach, he helped develop quarterbacks such as Ryan Mallett (2008-10) at Arkansas and Stefan LeFors (2003-04) and Brian Brohm (2004-06) at Louisville. As a coordinator or assistant, he tutored Jason Campbell at Auburn (2002), Chris Redman at Louisville (1998), Jake Plummer at Arizona State (1993), and Doug Nussmeier (1990-91) and John Friesz (1989) at Idaho.
While his track record is proven developing quarterbacks, Petrino has also adhered to the philosophy of a balanced attack offensively. In his last 14 years as a collegiate coach, both as a head coach and as an offensive coordinator, Petrino's offenses have put together 86 100-yard rushers and 64 300-yard passers in 170 games during that 14-year span. That equals 150 of 170 games having at least a 100-yard rusher or a 300-yard passer. Petrino has coached the likes of current NFL running back Michael Bush (2003-06), who rushed for over 2,500 yards during his time at Louisville.
Prior to becoming the head coach at Arkansas, Petrino was the head coach with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons in 2007 after spending four years as the head coach at Louisville. Petrino was the named the head coach at Louisville in 2003 after a year as the offensive coordinator at Auburn. In four seasons at the helm of Louisville, Petrino put together a remarkable 41-9 overall record, winning at least nine games in each of his four seasons, including an 11-win season and a 12-win season.
In his first season with the Cardinals, Petrino immediately began to make his mark, leading Louisville to a 9-4 record and a berth in the GMAC Bowl. Taking over a team that had finished 7-6 the season before, Petrino became the first Louisville head coach to win nine games in his first season. It didn't take long for Petrino to set the tone in his first collegiate coaching stint. In his first career game as a head coach, Petrino led Louisville to a 40-24 win over arch rival Kentucky. By the end of his first year, Petrino's team led the league and ranked among the nation's best in total offense, rushing and scoring. The Cardinals ranked fifth in the nation in total offense (488.9), 10th in rushing (228.2) and 15th in scoring offense (34.6). Louisville set six Conference USA records including the mark for total yards after the Cardinals racked up 779 yards, including 445 rushing yards, in a 66-45 win over Houston.
The four losses in 2003 would be the most during Petrino's tenure at Louisville, as he led the Cardinals to a 12-1 record in his second season, winning a Conference USA title, while also winning the Liberty Bowl over 10th-ranked Boise State. The Cardinals led the nation in total offense (539.0) and scoring offense (49.8), scored 40 points or more nine different times, scored 50 points seven times and set an NCAA record by scoring 55 or more points in five straight games.
After a 9-3 season in 2005, Petrino took Louisville to new heights in 2006, finishing the season with a 12-1 record and a 24-13 victory over Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl. The 12 wins were the most in school history, besting a previous high of 11 set during Petrino's second season. The BCS bowl win was the first in school history.
During that particular 2006 season, the Petrino-led Cardinals averaged over 37 points per game offensively, ranking fourth nationally in that category, while still limiting the opposition to just over 16 points per game. Petrino's offense ranked second in the nation in total yards per game (475.3), while leading the Big East in passing offense (290.0) and first downs (296). Louisville jumped as high as No. 3 in the national polls during the season, finishing the year ranked sixth in the AP poll, posting three wins over top-15 teams, including third-ranked West Virginia en route to the program's first Big East title.
During Petrino's time at Louisville, he coached Bronko Nagurski and Ted Hendricks Award winner Elvis Dumervil, who led the nation in sacks (20) and forced fumbles (10) on his way to earning All-America honors in 2006. During that same season, running back Michael Bush scored 24 touchdowns and became the school's first 1,000-yard rusher since 1999. Petrino inherits a running back in Antonio Andrews at WKU that rushed for 1,609 yards in the regular season, ranking sixth nationally in rushing yards per game.
Prior to his time at Louisville, Petrino served one season as the offensive coordinator at Auburn in 2002. In his one season with the Tigers, Auburn went 9-4, including three wins over top-10 ranked opponents, and won a share of the SEC Western Division title.
Before Auburn, he spent three seasons in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was the quarterbacks coach in 1999 and 2000, and the offensive coordinator in 2001.
In his first stint at Louisville, he was the offensive coordinator for the Cardinals in 1998. In that one season, Louisville was the top-ranked NCAA Division I-A team in scoring and total offense while recording the biggest turnaround in the nation. The Cardinals improved from 1-10 in 1997 to 7-5 in '98.
The Helena, Mont., native was the offensive coordinator at Utah State for three years (1995-97) before going to Louisville. While in Logan, Utah, he helped Utah State set school records by averaging 468.5 yards of total offense and 317.5 yards passing during the 1996 season. Prior to his arrival, USU averaged just more than 300 yards per game in total offense. In 1996, the Aggies also racked up a school-record 273 first downs, an average of nearly 25 first downs a game.
In 1994, he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Nevada. The Wolf Pack ranked second in the nation in passing (330) and total offense (500) per game, and was third in the nation with 37.6 points a game. During his one-year stint at Nevada, the Wolf Pack boasted 10 100-yard rushing performances and six 300-yard passing efforts. Nevada posted a 9-2 record and won a share of the Big West title.
In 1992 and 1993, he was the quarterbacks coach at Arizona State where he assisted in the development of future All-American and NFL star Jake Plummer. While with the Sun Devils, Petrino also worked with then-ASU quarterback and former UA offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Garrick McGee (current head coach at UAB).
Prior to his two years at Arizona State, he was the quarterbacks coach (1989) and offensive coordinator (1990 & 1991) for three seasons at the University of Idaho. He was the wide receivers coach at Weber State in 1987 and 1988.
Petrino literally grew up in the coaching profession. His father, Bob Petrino Sr., coached at Carroll College in Helena, Mont., for 26 seasons, earning 163 victories and 15 conference titles.
Petrino officially started his coaching career as a graduate assistant for his father at Carroll College in 1983. After a graduate assistant stint as quarterbacks coach at Weber State in 1984, Petrino returned to be the offensive coordinator for his father in 1985-86. Carroll had the top-ranked offense in the NAIA ranks in both of his seasons, thanks in large part to the play of Bobby Petrino's younger brother, Paul, who was a four-year starter at quarterback at Carroll College.
Before Bobby Petrino coached for his father, he played football for him at Carroll. Petrino played quarterback and twice earned NAIA All-America honors. He led the Fighting Saints to three straight Frontier Conference championships and was named the league's most valuable player in 1981 and 1982. He also played four years of basketball at Carroll. Petrino earned a bachelor's degree in physical education with a minor in mathematics from Carroll in 1983.
The Bobby Petrino File:
Born: March 10, 1961
Hometown: Helena, Mont.
College: Carroll College, 1983 (B.A., Physical Education)
Children: Kelsey, Nick, Bobby and Katie
Grandchildren: Granddaughter Brianna and grandson Braylon
1980-82: Carroll College (Graduate Assistant)
1984: Weber State (Graduate Assistant)
1985-86: Carroll College (Offensive Coordinator)
1987-88: Weber State (Wide Receivers/Tight Ends)
1989: Idaho (Quarterbacks)
1990-91: Idaho (Offensive Coordinator)
1992-93: Arizona State (Quarterbacks)
1994: Nevada (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
1995-97: Utah State (Offensive Coordinator)
1998: Louisville (Offensive Coordinator)
1999-2000: Jacksonville Jaguars (Quarterbacks)
2001: Jacksonville Jaguars (Offensive Coordinator)
2002: Auburn (Offensive Coordinator)
2003-06: Louisville (Head Coach)
2007: Atlanta Falcons (Head Coach)
2008-11: Arkansas (Head Coach)
2012-present: WKU (Head Coach)
1979-82: Carroll College - Quarterback
Bobby Petrino By the Numbers:
|Totals (8 Seasons)
||7 (4 wins)