The mention of Bobby Petrino conjures up a specific image in most people’s minds.
The football coach in a neck brace and baseball cap standing at a press conference podium with his face scraped up from the motorcycle crash that would be his undoing at the University of Arkansas.
A lot has changed since that day in April 2012.
Petrino moved on to successful coaching stints at Western Kentucky and Louisville. And on Wednesday morning, he was announced as the new head football coach at Missouri State University.
Arkansas, meanwhile, has been unable to approach the winning levels the Razorbacks enjoyed under Petrino (back-to-back seasons with at least 10 wins).
Some MSU fans, possibly thinking back to those photos of Petrino in a neck brace, weren’t pleased when reports surfaced late Tuesday night that Petrino was in line for the Bears job. Here’s a look back at what we know about Petrino’s firing in Arkansas.
Why Petrino was fired from Arkansas
On April 1, 2012, Petrino was involved in a single-vehicle motorcycle crash in northwest Arkansas.
Petrino initially told university officials he was alone on the motorcycle, but it eventually came out that he had a passenger — then-25-year-old Jessica Dorrell.
In the coming days, it came to light that Petrino had an affair with Dorrell and he had hired the former Arkansas volleyball player to work in athletics department after giving her a $20,000 gift. He had not previously disclosed his relationship with university officials.
By April 10, 2012, Arkansas fired Petrino with cause, as then-Athletics Director Jeff Long told reporters Petrino had “engaged in a pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior” before and after the motorcycle crash.
Petrino’s continued career at Kentucky, Louisville
It wasn’t long before Petrino was given another shot, as Western Kentucky hired the offensive whiz to lead its football program.
After an 8-4 season with the Hilltoppers, Petrino was back to major college football — this time at the University of Louisville.
Petrino spent part of five seasons with the Cardinals before he was fired in 2018 amid a 2-10 campaign.
Petrino essentially stayed out of the national news for any off-the-field issues during his time at Western Kentucky and Louisville.
Missouri State Director of Athletics Kyle Moats certainly has sources at Louisville, where he used to work as associate director of athletics for national marketing before coming to MSU. We can assume, those sources vouched for Petrino’s character as Moats and MSU President Clif Smart (an Arkansas law school alum) quickly identified Petrino as their man.