LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Bobby Petrino said Louisville is his "destination job" when he officially was introduced as the Cardinals' new coach Thursday.
You wonder if more than a few observers mentally added in "for now" after "destination job." Petrino, who was 8-4 this season at Western Kentucky in his only year with the Hilltoppers, signed a seven-year, $24.5 million deal with Louisville. He replaces Charlie Strong, who left to become coach at Texas last week after guiding the Cardinals to 23 wins in the past two seasons.
Petrino, 52, previously coached Louisville from 2003-06. The man who hired him, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, is the same AD who hired Petrino the last time. Petrino went 41-9 in his first go-round at Louisville, but he left for the Atlanta Falcons a few months after signing a new deal at Louisville in 2006.
He looked to have wanderlust during his entire tenure at Louisville, interviewing for or expressing interest in at least five other coaching jobs. He left the Falcons 13 games into the 2007 season to become coach at Arkansas. And he was fired at Arkansas in July 2012 after lying to Razorbacks AD Jeff Long following a motorcycle accident about his relationship with a female athletic department employee he had hired for a job in the football program.
He sat out the 2012 season, then was hired by Western Kentucky last December.
"I believe Bobby Petrino's a changed man," Jurich said during Thursday's news conference. "Bobby has convinced me he's a changed man."
For his part, Petrino said that Louisville "is where I want to finish my career."
Petrino also said there is a $10 million buyout in his contract, so maybe he is serious when he says he wants to finish his career at the school.
But given his serial, inveterate lying, does anyone -- even Jurich -- take him seriously? He lied to Jurich when he was at Louisville before. He lied to Falcons owner Arthur Blank. He lied to Long. Heck, you could even say he lied when he said at his introductory news conference at Western Kentucky that he hoped his tenure there "can be as long as possible."
Petrino is 83-30 in nine seasons as a college head coach. He has an excellent offensive mind and is a brilliant play-caller, especially in the passing game. He will win at Louisville. How big is the question. The Cardinals are headed for the ACC, and it's going to be harder to win in that league than it was in Conference USA, the Big East and the AAC, the three leagues the school has been in in the past decade. Still, he will be successful.