Bobby Petrino insists he’s a changed man.
Not the scoundrel who secretly interviewed for someone else’s coaching job without telling his bosses, who abandoned the Atlanta Falcons with three games left in the season, who wrecked his motorcycle with his mistress aboard and lied about the sordid affair as long as he could.
We’re supposed to believe he’s not that guy anymore.
In the latest sign that college athletics spews a lot of high-minded malarkey but is never about anything more than wins and losses, Louisville re-introduced Petrino as its head coach this week – pairing him with another member of the Morally Bankrupt Hall of Fame – men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino.
You remember, before the NCAA championship, the intimate relations with someone other than his wife on a restaurant table.
The news conference Thursday was downright sickening, with all the expected nonsense about Petrino suddenly turning into a decent human being and the Cardinals being persuaded that he’s just the right guy to turn boys into men.
“If it was the same Bobby that was here 10 years ago, I wasn’t interested,” said athletic director Tom Jurich, who might want to consider a job selling ice cubes in Alaska. “He is definitely a changed person.”
After Charlie Strong took the Texas job, the only thing that mattered to the Cardinals was finding someone to keep the victories coming. That’s why they brought back Petrino, who was 41-9 when he coached Louisville from 2003-06, including a trip to the Orange Bowl. There was no need subjecting us to all the familiar gibberish about Petrino finding his way to a better place as person.
The Cardinal Nation seems thrilled by the hiring. We’ll see how they’re feeling after Petrino goes 11-1 – he can coach, after all – and starts sniffing around for an even better job. A tiger doesn’t suddenly change his stripes. History suggests this guy won’t either.
Remember in April 2012, as the Arkansas coach, Petrino shows up with four broken ribs and wearing a neck brace after a motorcycle crash.
“When I came out of the ditch, there was a lady there that had flagged down a car,” he says, not bothering to mention she was his mistress and a women less than half his age, former Arkansas volleyball player Jessica Dorrell.
With a police report about to be released, Petrino is forced to come clean about Dorrell, such as hiring her to work in the football office.
But this time, we’re supposed to believe Petrino has changed.