Petrino returns to Louisville for 1st ACC season

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 21, 2014 at 6:07 pm •  Published: July 21, 2014
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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Bobby Petrino turned Louisville into a top-10 team nearly a decade ago. Now, more than two years after a scandal derailed his career, Petrino is back with the Cardinals as they enter the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The 53-year-old coach is out to show he is worthy of a second chance with the school he left for the NFL.

"I need to prove to myself and everybody else on a daily basis that this is the right decision," he said Monday during the second of the ACC's two-day preseason event.

Petrino was a first-time head coach when he arrived at Louisville in 2003, guiding the Cardinals to a 41-9 record over four seasons that included winning the Orange Bowl after the 2006 season.

But his career had a few wild swings as well as an embarrassing off-field incident in the coming years, enough so that Petrino said he is conscious of living up to the extra chance that Louisville has given him.

"I think (with) the experiences I've had, that I can help young men with the obstacles that they're going to be presented with off the field and the situations that are going to come up," Petrino said. "And be able to help them and give them second chances."

Petrino left Louisville to coach the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, but bolted late in his only season in 2007 to go to Arkansas. Then he was fired there in 2012 after a scandal that began with a motorcycle accident in which he later revealed that his mistress was a passenger.

In a statement after his firing, Petrino apologized for hurting his family and letting down the Arkansas community "by making selfish decisions."

"I've taken a lot of criticism in the past," he said then. "Some deserved, some not deserved. This time, I have no one to blame but myself."

Petrino went on to coach last season at Western Kentucky, going 8-4 and setting a program record by totaling 5,502 total yards. And when Charlie Strong left to replace Mack Brown at Texas, Petrino had the chance to return to the Cardinals in January.

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