What price would you pay to win? That was the question I asked in 2012 as Kentucky struggled on the field and many fans began to clamor for UK to take a look at out of work Bobby Petrino. Is it worth it to sacrifice the spirit of amateurism and college athletics to adapt a win at all costs mentality? Last year UK had the chance to take that route and passed opting instead to make what looks like a solid hire in coach Stoops. This season the Cards did the opposite as they crawled back to their ex today for an interview and early reports indicate they may be about to hire Petrino once again. For Cardinals they will do anything possible to win at least that’s what hiring Petrino meant a year ago:
Ah, yes. All he brings to the table. Petrino brings as much football coaching talent to the table as anyone hired this offseason. He also brings enough baggage to send you scrambling for a second table.
Stewart talked about wanting to make a hire that would move the program forward, that would take it places it has never been, that would put it on a national stage it has never known. He accomplished that Monday. Within two hours of Petrino’s press conference ending, WKU had been ripped by USA Today and Sports Illustrated online.
The litany of criticism is long. It’s too soon. Does integrity stand for nothing? In college football, winning trumps everything else. And one final concern — it’s a big risk to take with your program.
Will Kentucky make a move on Petrino? Probably not. I just don’t see Barnhart doing that.
Should Kentucky make a move on Petrino? Maybe. It depends on how much the UK administration wants to win more than anything else.
So what will happen? My guess is nothing with Petrino, as Barnhart looks for other coaches he thinks can win and have the “integrity” Barnhart values. But if the Kentucky administration doesn’t want to make a stronger overall commitment to football, will it really matter whether the coach is Petrino, a rising star like Sonny Dykes, a moderately successful coach like Duke’s David Cutcliffe or perhaps a rising college or NFL coordinator?
But remember, this is not a guaranteed home run for Kentucky. Money alone won’t buy a big-name coach who values winning unless other changes are made to the Kentucky football culture, and that could be more difficult to do than having UK even take a run at Petrino.
In hiring Petrino, Western showed it is has embraced the same win-at-all costs mentality that, historically, has made UK one of the most penalized schools in NCAA history.
With Petrino, WKU joins Kentucky and Louisville in having as the most visible faces of their school nationally famous coaches known almost as much for the scandals of their past, either professional or personal, as their coaching excellence.
Welcome to the big time, WKU.
This is life with Bobby P.
Finally we have this gem from one of Louisville’s own. It will be interesting to see how his tune will change with a Petrino hire:
Bill Lamb and his point of view:
“Despite his undeniable success, Petrino’s annual mating dances with other college and pro teams were getting to be more than tiresome, creating an atmosphere of distrust and insecurity in the Cardinal football program. A school like Louisville deserves to have a man in charge with both eyes on the ultimate prize. Not just one, while the other is constantly wandering in search of a sweeter deal.”
Apparently, nothing much has changed with Petrino, considering his NFL fiasco and his recent shenanigans at the University of Arkansas. I have no sympathy for Arkansas since they knew what they were getting when they hired him. But now, the atmosphere of “distrust and insecurity” surrounding Petrino’s public life has invaded his personal life as well, and it’s hard to imagine anyone giving him another chance in either arena anytime soon.
What will you say if Petrino is named head coach of the Cards later this week?