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Petrino Doesn’t Know About Commitment

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on December 13, 2007

Five days after I began my current position as student manager for the basketball team, former White Station and Wake Forest standout Robert O’Kelley was relieved of his assistant coaching duties, something that we found out during a shoot-around.

“He’s a good coach,” Coach Walker said to us, “but you have to do certain things that aren’t really necessary at the high school level in college.”

Well said.

The same could be said about Bobby Petrino, who at this time last year was the toast of Louisville as the Cardinals — behind the arm of Brian Brohm — won the Big East Championship and headed to the school’s first BCS Bowl where they would beat Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl.

Not to mention that in July of last year he signed a 10-year contract worth $25 million to stay in the Falls City after turning down an offer in 2004 to become the coach at Auburn when speculation rose that Tommy Tuberville would be fired.

And to make matters worse, Petrino said to the fans of Louisville that he was looking forward to remaining coach of the Cardinals and bringing National Championships to the Falls City.

But much like my own relationships or pursuits with girls, he did the opposite when it came to commitment with the Louisville program.

A few weeks after leading the Cardinals to their biggest football moment in the Orange Bowl, he bolted for the Atlanta Falcons saying, in so many words, that it was his dream job to work alongside one of the best athletes at the time in the NFL and general manager Rich McKay.

But little did anyone know that a few months later, the guy he wanted so desperately to work with would end up trading the gridiron for prison time because of dogfighting, leaving him with nothing more than a shell of a team.

And leaving the Falls City with a guy who turned around the fortunes of Tulsa, only to finish with an even 6-6 record and no bowl game for Louisville for the first time since 1997 when Ron Cooper was at the helm.

Petrino, who to many was and is an offensive master (see his teams at Louisville for proof), was in, so many words, ill-prepared for the world of the NFL.

Instead of talking to successful coaches like Bill Walsh, Dennis Green, and others-coaches who made the leap from the college ranks to the pros with some success, Petrino took his instincts and beliefs and figured that he could transform the Falcons into a contender for the playoffs without Vick.

But despite this, did Petrino have a legit reason to leave?

Yes and no.

Yes, because he wanted to work with guys who had a love for the game, guys that had an eagerness to learn the game as well as life lessons in order to make it at the next level.

He didn’t want to be stuck with the confusing numbers of salary caps and egos.

No, because despite the problems he had in Atlanta, it was no reason for him to quit like a baby and head to Fayetteville simply because he couldn’t get his way.

When you make a decision to work for someone, be it in the world of sports or the business world, you have to make a commitment to the job you signed up for.

Nothing in life comes to you because you are from a certain university or because you have a certain last name.

Things come because you worked your way up to the top and the people around you saw it.

Too bad Petrino didn’t get the picture.


One Response to “Petrino Doesn’t Know About Commitment”

  1. Condo said

    Quite an interesting read that comes to the defense of Petrino. If this article has any truth at all in how the Falcons management handled this… then I may lay off Petrino. I believe there’s two sides to every story and the truth lays somewhere in the middle. But it’s quite interesting to get a different perspective on this after reading this article.

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