The Western Kentucky football team—and fanbase in general—have been on a roller coaster of emotions over the past week.
After finishing the 2012 season with a record of 7-5 (4-4 in the Sun Belt), the Hilltoppers were selected to play in the Little Caesars Bowl on December 26 in Detroit. This is their first bowl game in the school's history as they have only been a Division I team since 2008.
WKU's team started off the season on fire as they shot out to a 6-2 start with their only two losses coming from then-No. 1 ranked Alabama and then to Louisiana-Monroe in an overtime thriller. They also picked up a win against an SEC opponent in Kentucky.
Though they cooled off significantly—only winning one more in their final four games—the team still showed promise. Mainly from do-it-all running back, Antonio Andrews.
Andrews led the league in all-purpose yards, averaging 248 a game which was 18 more yards than the second place finisher. He is one of four finalists for the Paul Hornung Award, which is given annually to the most versatile player in all of college football.
With all this excitement surrounding the program, it seemed like things were only looking up. Then after the team's third bowl practice, head coach Willie Taggart decided to leave the team and take a job in his home state at the University of South Florida.
Taggart, who was in his third year, had completely turned around the Hilltoppers' football team. He led them to their first DI win, first home win, first winning season and most recently their first bowl appearance—before hopping on a flight south.
That took place on December 8. Less than two days later WKU had already found their replacement: Bobby Petrino.
This was first reported by Chad Bishop and has now been confirmed by the school.
Petrino was one of the most sought after coaches in college football. He took Louisville to within a field goal of their first National Championship in 2006 then took his talents to the NFL to coach the Atlanta Falcons, though he was fired after just one season. If it wasn't for Michael Vick being arrested that year, he still may be in Atlanta.
After that he was hired by the Arkansas Razorbacks where he went 34-17 in his four years there. Three of those years the team made a bowl game, including 2010 when they went 10-3, losing in the Sugar Bowl and then winning the Cotton Bowl in 2011 with a record of 11-2.
In April of this year however, he was in a motorcycle accident that changed his life. Though he wasn't too banged up from the crash, it was discovered he had a mistress on the back off the bike. The girl was then revealed to be a former student and current employee at Arkansas who Petrino was giving improper benefits too.
This discovery resulted in his firing as the head coach of Arkansas.
Now he finds himself coaching a team that placed fifth in the Sun Belt Conference, perhaps as a way to get his feet back in the coaching pool and earn back some trust and respect.
A press conference is to be held today at 4 p.m. Central at Smith Stadium on Western Kentucky's campus to announce the hiring of Bobby Petrino.
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