Bobby Petrino Reportedly Interested in Kentucky Wildcats

Multiple outlets are reporting that former Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino is interested in the now-vacant Kentucky Wildcats head coaching position. His father, Bob Petrino, has reportedly passed along Petrino's interest to the Louisville Courier-Journal:

"I know he wants a job; he needs a job," Petrino Sr. said by telephone Wednesday. "He told me, ‘I need a job, Dad.’ I said, ‘Well, you must still have some money. You made 31/2 million dollars.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I do. It’s not the money.’ He just misses coaching so much."

...

"I just know this, that he’s interested in Kentucky," the father said. "He wants to stay in the SEC. That was his life’s goal was to go to the SEC."

Editor's note: Hoboat33 reported this earlier in a FanPost, but it definitely belongs in this storystream, and unfortunately, I can't put FanPosts up here.

I'm not surprised Petrino is expressing interest in Kentucky. There are two reasons for this:

  • A better job might not come open this year, and;
  • A bidding war for his services only means more $$ for him, and Kentucky is the perfect foil.

An Arkansas fan, I think it was one of the guys from Arkansas Expats, once described Petrino as a "beautiful whore," and while that particular choice of words is a touch unrefined, I think it's perfectly accurate in concept. Petrino has prostituted himself with utter disregard for anything other than his own best interests. While I agree that it's always important to look out for #1 first, the way Petrino has done it, with complete contempt for his employers, is the very definition of unethical.

Petrino didn't do it once, nor twice. Three times in three jobs he showed total disdain for his place of employment. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that he wouldn't do it again at Kentucky (or anywhere else, for that matter). His track record in this regard is an unblemished 3-3. To his credit, he hasn't had any NCAA issues anywhere, and as tempting as it is to be skeptical that such an ethics-challenged person hasn't just been lucky, that rings a bit hollow coming from someone who has consistently defended John Calipari, rightly or wrongly the most controversial college coach in America.

With all that said, Bobby Petrino is one of the best football coaches at the college level in America. He has won everywhere he's been, and won big. He isn't just talented, he's almost literally a savant, and as hard as it is to say, even if Petrino didn't have all the ethical problems that have been his stock-in-trade, Kentucky is not a good enough job for him. Whether we like it or not, Kentucky is not a place for a coach as good as Petrino, and any of us who were honest with ourselves know this is so. Usually (but by no means always), when employer and employee are mismatched, the relationship doesn't last, and unfortunately, given Petrino's track record, I wouldn't expect it to end well.

In my view, Petrino's interest in Kentucky is only that of a auctioneer at Sotheby's -- he needs an opening bid. I could be wrong, but again, you have to admit that given the aforementioned mismatch, this is the high probability. Some will insist that if Mitch Barnhart gets on him early, Kentucky can get him. Perhaps, but then you have the whole mismatch problem. Playing rent-a-coach, to me, should not be Barnhart's aim.

As to his father's claim that Petrino just wants to get back into coaching, I see no reason to challenge this -- I'm sure he does, and Petrino has good reason to believe that might not be easy. His reputation has become a scarlet letter emblazoned on his forehead, and although a lot of athletics directors are going to find him beautiful to the eye, they know that raw, untreated ethical sewage lies just below that lovely coaching exterior, and it always seems to burst forth upon his employer. That fact will give every interested party, including Barnhart, significant pause.

Mandatory disclaimer: Anyone who reads this space knows that I reserve a very special level of loathing for Bobby Petrino, so my commentary about him should not be seen as even nominally objective.

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