Could Bobby Petrino be Playing Kentucky Fans Like a Fiddle?


Irony is everywhere around the Kentucky Football coaching search recently, and to no surprise to most, it centers around former Arkansas head coach and avid motorcyclist Bobby Petrino.

John Clay of the Lexington Herald already speculated this afternoon that Petrino could possibly be using Kentucky as a patsy to show he is ready to get back in the SEC no matter the price.

Knowing the way coaches and their agents work, however, this may have more to do with Petrino trying to send a message to possible suitors that he means business about getting back into the fray in 2013.

Chief among the intended targets could be Auburn, which may or may not pull out the pink slip for delivery to head coach Gene Chizik, whose team is reeling at 2-7 overall and 0-for-the-SEC heading into Saturday’s game with Georgia.

Now there is a report this evening that Auburn is indeed going to fire Gene Chizik.

According to, Gogue has contacted board members about forming a committee to help with the process of possibly removing Chizik and naming a new head coach “within days after the end of the season should the decision be made that Chizik will not be retained,” the site wrote. Chizik is in his fourth season and only two years removed from winning the national championship.

The website says that Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson has been named as a potential candidate.

I have been sickened all day reading comments by Kentucky fans trying to compare the possible hiring of Bobby Petrino to the hiring of John Calipari.

If you can look John Calipari in the eye after that comparison, then maybe you should check your moral compass.

John Calipari was sitting by the phone waiting on Kentucky to call, while it looks like Bobby Petrino could possibly be using Kentucky just to get the job he always wanted.

Remember when he almost left Louisville and actually interviewed while Auburn’s coach was still coaching?

What about ditching the Falcons after 13 games and Mike Zimmer, his defensive coordinator, said this about the coach everyone wants,

“He’s a gutless (expletive),” Zimmer said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Quote that.” Zimmer continued, “He is a coward. Put that in quotes,” Zimmer said. “He ruined a bunch of people’s lives, a bunch of people’s families, kids, because he didn’t have enough nuts to stay there and finish the job. That’s the truth.”

Does that sound what Kentucky needs as it’s head coach?

It sure doesn’t sound like someone Kentucky’s leading tackler Avery Williamson would like to have as his next coach.

“A coach and a staff that is just like Joker,” he said, “that cares about us more than on the level of just playing football, but cares about us as people.”

Maybe everyone should think if they would like their own son to play for a guy like Petrino and represent the University of Kentucky before they start spouting off about winning at all costs.

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About the Author

Scott Anderson
I love covering the Kentucky Wildcats and even though I can't cheer on the outside when I go to games now, I am definitely cheering on the inside. You can follow me at @SAndersonNOB on twitter.
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  • brad

    Bobby Petrino would be a great fit for Kentucky he would turn the program completely around sure he has made a few mistakes but he is one good coach.I would not care a bit to have my son play for him plus he can prove he has straighten up and get Kentucky playing for sec championship and possible the national championship,and don’t think he cant do it!

  • glassdrew

    you should not even be doin this article to say that Kentucky fans sicken you. we are just expressing how we feel. it is great to have a coach that cares about his players . But there comes a time when getting embarrassed every week and being the laughing stock of the SEC gets old . there comes a time where as a kentucky fan we need change, and we all know joker is a remarkable person a great human being ,but every program starts with the coach. petrino is not the best choice for kentucky , but bad mouthing kentucky fans is not the best choice for you, and your articles.. sincerely a dedicated and loyal kentucky fan.

    • Anthony Vicars

      I think Scott said that it was the comparison of Petrino to Calipari that sickens him. I have to agree. This guy ran out on every job he had before Arkansas and then he made some VERY bad decisions to lose his job there. He has a history of making poor choices.

      He probably could turn the football program around in a few years, but then he’ll leave or be fired for something stupid. And he’ll embarrass the university and it’s fans in the process. Then we’ll be back where we stared.

      Petrino is NO Calipari!!!!

      • glassdrew

        Petrino is no Calipari,,, agreed but with any decision your taking a risk. Kentucky took a risk with Calipari and it was the best decision they could have ever made, and the risk being hiring a coach who got a whole season vacated. petrino would be a huge risk , but if he has learned his lesson , he could turn the football program around and put them in a direction they have never been, and about leaving the other schools , the other coaches they are going after would have to leave the schools they are currently coaching. To me there are some bitter people who dont believe in giving people a fresh start or a second chances, Coaches are human and their not perfect , and whoever reads this i guarantee has flaws and has made mistakes.

        • Iamthe Reaper

          Damn right. You hit a home run

        • Jonathan Blackburn

          I agree glassdrew. Further, I am not convinced Petrino would just turn around and run at the first bigger / better offer. That has become his reputation, and he may have a personal need to prove that he is committed. Is it a risk? Absolutely! But, I think it is one worth taking. He may not accept, but I would lay down the offer.

        • Frankie Landrum

          We took NO risk hiring Calipari. When has he ever gotten anybody’s season vacated? In both cases at memphis and Umass it was the players who got the school in trouble. There are NO violations on Cal’s record, there was no risk in hiring Cal

  • glassdrew

    quote from another Kentucky fan “UK fans are starved for a good football program. Petrino would turn the
    football program around almost as fast as coach Cal did the basketball
    program. It’s a no brainer.”

    • David


  • Chris Fraley

    sounds like Petrino is acting more like Billy Donovan. I say if he turns the offer down we never give him another chance!!

  • Frankie Landrum

    Let’s just say Petrino has “learned from his mistakes”. Let’s look at Petrino as a coach and still try to compare him to Calipari. Petrino has had great success but nothing even close to what Calipari has had in basketball. The only coach in football right now that can be compared to Calipari is Saban. Then you throw in all the crap Petrino has done in his career, YOU CANNOT compare Petrino to Calipari, they are 2 different coaches on 2 opposite ends of the spectrum. I liked the idea of hiring Petrino at first, but after thinking about what he has done at Arkansas, Louisville and the Falcons, this is not the guy we want as a head coach.

  • Joshua Comstock

    If Mitch isn’t going to actually commit to SEC football he should have just kept Joker, kept losing and saved the $3m buyout. Any coach actually good enough to win at UK won’t make it to Lex unless he has some blemishes. Petrino is THE BEST football coach available. HANDS DOWN. Cutcliffe, Dykes, Fulmer, McIntyre or any of the coordinators mentioned will at best struggle to 6 wins and a scrappy cold weather bowl in the best years. Mitch won’t get another dime from me if he leaves a 9 win coach for someone else.Firing Joke was just the 1st step. Committing financialy to actually play SEC FB must be made before he gets any $ from me to blow on soccer and softball.

  • Iamthe Reaper

    Well be sick if you might but Cal left UMASS in a mess (Marcus Camby), Forfeited wins at Memphis and we have given him a chance to redeem himself and seemingly he has. FACT!!

    Petrino should get an incentive based contract with no opt out clause, he goes road, he gets nothing. Personally, we need Bill Cowher, who some say was interested once upon a time. Cowher would give the team hardness and guts. People would put asses in seats for either of these 2 coaches. FACT!!

  • aaronjwells32

    What viewers whose opinions are similar to “glassdrew” are not understanding is
    that Kentucky basketball is the job all coaches in the country are striving to
    land. Kentucky football, in the case of a Petrino hire, would be a springboard
    to land the “Kentucky basketball” of football jobs. The risk we took
    with Calipari coming to UK, considering his history at UMASS and Memphis, was
    much less than the risk we would take with Petrino because Kentucky basketball
    is the “dream job” coaching. Coach Calipari had many critics
    regarding his “one-and-done” philosophy before he proved that winning
    a national championship could be done with mostly freshman. For this to be successful,
    his “one-and-done” philosophy should only apply to the players,
    because if he should leave, the entire plan crumbles and we are back to a
    rebuilding phase again. By hiring Petrino, we are doing so knowing that he will
    only be at Kentucky for a few seasons (consider his history reported by Scott
    Anderson in this article and the history of Kentucky football). Is one good
    season (all that he would need before leaving for another school like Auburn
    which seems to be his school of choice) worth the heartache and frustration
    that our fanbase would go through (again) when we get a taste of what we all
    want for this football program – success? In my opinion, it is not worth it. I
    would rather go after a coach similar to Rich Brooks. Not necessarily in age,
    but someone who is a good coach (admittedly not as good as Petrino would be)
    and has follows sound morals, values, and ethics. I am sure most coaches in
    America are not the perfect husband and father that they portray to the
    national media, but these other coaching candidates that have not been as
    reckless as Petrino and nor have they been as cold-hearted with their previous
    coaching jobs. I believe that the leadership abilities of a coach is a direct reflection of these morals, values, and ethical standards, and for this reason, the comparison should not be between Coach Calipari and Bobby Petrino. Sure, Calipari has a history of coaching teams that have been sanctioned by the NCAA, but we did not take a risk with someone who places his hands on players, sleeps with women in the bathroom of his favorite restaurant, or has been personally punished by the league for cheating. Instead, a more accurate comparison would be between Billy Gillispe and Petrino, and do I need to remind Big Blue Nation how miserable those two years were? Even though Petrino is a great coach and has success with various programs, I do not believe he is the right fit for our football program if we are serious about taking our football program to the next level.

    • glassdrew

      Thank you Aaron for your opinion and just like every statement on here is a persons opinion , and my opinion was not camparing Cal to Petrino , i was saying that UK basketball was wanting to win and win now and the best choice was Cal.. the football program is ready to win and win now and my OPINION

      • glassdrew

        Is that petrino would be the best for the situation, even though he has a bad personal past and with other schools he is still a winning coach

  • ATLCatFanForever

    If we take Petrino, then UK has made no serious commitment to doing something about the state of the program. They are just buying a few wins for as long as Bobby hangs (which likely won’t be long). I’m not for that. This would be a good opportunity to make a commitment to changing direction. We’re at rock bottom and it’s time to take stock and choose a new direction. If Mitch doesn’t have the stomach for that, then UK should show him the door before the stadium is completely empty.

  • David

    here is an excellent article. Being able to compete in the SEC and revenue of his hiring.

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