Arkansas fires Bobby Petrino
I’ll admit, it was difficult determining if this should be added to the 2011 Coaching Carousel, but after getting some feedback and thinking it over I decided the news of Arkansas firing Bobby Petrino deserved to kickstart our 2012 Coaching Carousel. Why? With spring practices ongoing across the country and everyone ready to breakdown the 2012 season, I figured that news of the first coaching change deserved to be kept with the same season we are beginning to focus on.
Besides, I already put the finishing touches on the 2011-12 Coaching Carousel.
On Tuesday night, Arkansas officially cut Bobby Petrino loose, following a week-long saga involving a motorcycle accident, lies to hide information about a second passenger on the bike and his relationship with the woman involved in the accident. By now you know the story (if not listen to our podcast conversation with Chris Bahn from ArkansasSports360.com, The Bobby Petrino Story). In his place, at least for the time being, Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long has named linebackers coach Taver Johnson interim head coach.
During his Tuesday night press conference Long was asked if he would like to have a permanent head coach in place before the start fo the 2012 season, just a few months away, but Long was unsure exactly what the timeline would be for naming a successor to Petrino. Given the timing, it may prove difficult to find a suitable replacement, although Arkansas does have more time than Ohio State and North Carolina heading in to the 2011 season.
My initial impression is that Arkansas will ultimately settle with an interim coach in 2012, which could harm their chances to contend for an SEC, and BCS, championship. Instead Arkansas will be on the search for a new head coach for the 2013 season. Again, just an initial reaction, so take that for what it is.
Petrino was 34-17 at Arkansas, leading the Razorbacks to their first BCS bowl game in the BCS era in the 2010 season. Arkansas was ranked as high as third in the AP poll in 2011, the highest Arkansas has been ranked at ay one time in the AP poll since being ranked second in 1978 as a member of the old Southwest Conference.
For Arkansas, the decision to cut loose the head coach shows that the university supported having good character in charge of the football program as opposed to just focusing on winning football games. Under Petrino the Razorbacks had won 21 games over the last three seasons and elevated to elite level in the SEC, though still a notch below Alabama, LSU and Auburn the last two seasons. Arkansas is a trendy pick to be among the SEC and BCS championship contenders entering the 2012 season, although it remains to be seen how this coaching change will impact those expectations.
While Arkansas will finish up spring practices and play through the 2012 season with an interim head coach, the list of candidates for Jeff Long should start developing rather quickly, if it has not already. Some of those names that have mentioned as potential candidates include South Florida’s Skip Holtz, Stanford’s David Shaw, and Iowa State’s Paul Rhodes according to CoachingSearch.com.
So, without any further adieu, here is the first entry in to the annual coaching carousel.
|Arkansas||Bobby Petrino||Bret Bielema|
|Arkansas State||Gus Malzahn||Bryan Harsin|
|Auburn||Gene Chizik||Gus Malzahn|
|Boston College||Frank Spaziani||Steve Addazio|
|Cal||Jeff Tedford||Sonny Dykes|
|Cincinnati||Butch Jones||Tommy Tuberville|
|Colorado||Jon Embree||Mike MacIntyre|
|Florida International||Mario Cristobal||Ron Turner|
|Georgia State||Bill Curry||Trent Miles|
|Idaho||Robb Akey||Paul Petrino|
|Kent State||Darrell Hazell||Paul Hynes|
|Kentucky||Joker Phillips||Mark Stoops|
|Louisiana Tech||Sonny Dykes||Skip Holtz|
|Nevada||Chris Ault||Brian Polian|
|New Mexico State||DeWayne Walker||Doug Martin|
|North Carolina State||Tom O'Brien||Dave Doeren|
|Northern Illinois||Dave Doeren||Rod Carey|
|Oregon||Chip Kelly||Mark Helfrich|
|Purdue||Danny Hope||Darrell Hazell|
|San Jose State||Mike MacIntyre||Ron Caragher|
|South Florida||Skip Holtz||Willie Taggart|
|Southern Mississippi||Ellis Johnson||Todd Monken|
|Syracuse||Doug Marrone||Scott Shafer|
|Tennessee||Derek Dooley||Butch Jones|
|Temple||Steve Addazio||Matt Rhule|
|Texas Tech||Tommy Tuberville||Kliff Kingsbury|
|Utah State||Gary Andersen||Matt Wells|
|UTEP||Mike Price||Sean Kugler|
|Western Kentucky||Willie Taggart||Bobby Petrino|
|Western Michigan||Bill Cubit||P.J. Fleck|
|Wisconsin||Bret Bielema||Gary Andersen|
* denotes interim head coach
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