Bobby Petrino left the Arkansas Razorbacks—a prominent SEC program—in disgrace this past offseason, after a scandal rocked his personal life and the university.
Now he’s been given another chance, as the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers—a mediocre Sun Belt squad—have reportedly hired the controversial coach to lead their team.
Petrino, who went 34-17 during his time in Fayetteville, was offered a four-year deal by athletic director Todd Stewart, who had this to say about the hire (according to the Associated Press):
“This is the United States of America, and we're a country of second chances. I was confident after talking with him and with other people that he deserved a second chance and we are more than happy to give it to him."
The 51-year-old HC will immediately have a chance to redeem himself at the start of the 2013 season.
If you look at WKU’s tentative schedule, you’ll see that it is in line to play the in-state rival Kentucky Wildcats in the season opener, before traveling to Neyland Stadium to take on the Tennessee Volunteers the following weekend.
Considering the Hilltoppers were able to vanquish the Wildcats in an overtime thriller in 2012, and the Vols were seriously pressured by the fanbase to give Petrino heavy consideration when filling their coaching vacancy, there’s a good chance that both of these games turn out to be absolute bloodbaths.
While WKU may be undermanned and outgunned against these SEC bottom-feeders, the school has heart and is willing to take a chance on a 75-26 lifetime coach who has a proven track record of turning teams around.
Petrino knows the odds are against him and his new squad, but that could be an advantage as they step into these hallowed SEC stadiums with no one believing in them but themselves.
We cannot wait until 2013 to see how Bobby P. performs, and how he’s treated, in his return to the Southeastern Conference.