FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Former Atlanta Falcons and University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino has been named head football coach at the University of Arkansas. Arkansas Director of Athletics designee Jeff Long made the official announcement of the 30th coach in Razorback football history at a formal news conference on Tuesday night.
Petrino’s distinguished coaching career of 25 years includes collegiate experience at Arizona State University, the University of Nevada, Utah State University, Auburn University and the University of Louisville as well as tenures with both the Atlanta Falcons and the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League.
“We are extremely excited to announce Bobby Petrino as the head football coach at the University of Arkansas,” Long said. “He is a proven winner. Coach Petrino has established a track record of discipline and accountability for his players both on the field and in the classroom. The style of play his teams employ invigorates fans from kickoff to the final horn. I am confident that Razorback fans will embrace Coach Petrino and his exciting brand of football.”
Prior to his most recent tenure as the head coach of the Falcons, Petrino enjoyed four ultra-successful seasons (2003-06) at Louisville. His teams posted a combined record of 41-9 in his tenure.
In 2006, Petrino guided the Cardinals to a 12-1 record, including a 24-13 win over No. 12 Wake Forest in the BCS FedEx Orange Bowl. Louisville finished with a final No. 6 national ranking in the Associated Press poll, the highest ranking in school history. The Cardinals won their first Big East Conference title, ranked second in the nation in total yards (484.6 yards per game) and fourth in the nation in scoring offense (37.8 points per game). Seven Louisville players earned first-team All-Big East honors, the most of any league school.
His 2004 Louisville team went 11-1, won the Conference USA championship and beat No. 10 Boise State in the Liberty Bowl, 44-40, to end the season ranked No. 7. The Cardinals led the nation in total offense (539.0) and scoring offense (49.7), and set an NCAA record by scoring 50 or more points in five-straight games.
Petrino was named the head coach at Louisville in 2003 after working as the offensive coordinator at Auburn in 2002. In his one season with the Tigers, Auburn went 9-4 and led the Southeastern Conference in pass efficiency and third down conversions, and was third in scoring, rushing and total offense. Auburn beat Penn State in the Capital One Bowl that season, 13-9.
Before going to Auburn, he spent three seasons in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was the quarterbacks coach in 1999 and 2000, and the offensive coordinator in 2001.
While with the Jaguars, he worked with quarterback Mark Brunell, who threw for 3,640 yards in 2000, which was the second-highest total in team history, and 3,309 yards in his 2001 season as offensive coordinator. In 1999, Jacksonville advanced to the AFC Championship Game.
In his first stint at Louisville, he was the offensive coordinator for the Cardinals in 1998. In that one season, Louisville was the top-ranked NCAA Division I-A team in scoring and total offense while recording the biggest turnaround in the nation. The Cardinals improved from 1-10 in 1997 to 7-5 in ’98.
Petrino and quarterback Chris Redman helped the Cardinals set school records for points scored (444), scoring average (40.4), touchdowns (62), passing yards (4,498), passing touchdowns (33) and total yards (6,156). Louisville scored 60 or more points three times that season (wins over Cincinnati, 62-19; Western Kentucky, 63-44; and East Carolina, 63-45).
The Helena, Mont., native was the offensive coordinator at Utah State for three years (1995-97) before going to Louisville. While in Logan, Utah, he helped Utah State set a school record by averaging 468.5 yards of total offense during the 1996 season.
In 1994, he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Nevada. The Wolfpack ranked second in the nation in passing (330) and total offense (500) per game, and was third in the nation with 37.6 points a game.
In 1992 and ’93, he was the quarterbacks coach at Arizona State where he assisted in the development of future All-American and NFL star Jake Plummer.
Prior to his two years at Arizona State he was the quarterbacks coach (1989) and offensive coordinator (1990 & 1991) in three seasons at the University of Idaho. He was the wide receivers coach at Weber State in 1987 and ’88.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater Carroll College in 1983 and then moved to Weber State as a graduate assistant and quarterbacks coach in 1984. He went back to Carroll College in Helena, Mont., as offensive coordinator in 1985 and ’86. Carroll had the top-ranked offense in the NAIA ranks in both of his seasons on the staff.
Petrino earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education with a minor in mathematics from Carroll, where he played quarterback and twice earned NAIA All-America honors. He led the Fighting Saints to three straight Frontier Conference championships and was named the league’s most valuable player in 1981 and 1982.
Born March 10, 1961, Petrino and his wife, the former Becky Schaff, have four children: Kelsey, Nick, Bobby and Katie.
Bobby Petrino Coaching History
Dec. 11, 2007 – Head Coach – Arkansas
2007 – Head Coach – Atlanta Falcons (NFL)
2003-06 – Head Coach – Louisville
2002 – Offensive Coordinator – Auburn
2001 – Offensive Coordinator – Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL)
1999-2000 – Quarterbacks Coach – Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL)
1998 – Offensive Coordinator – Louisville
1995-97 – Offensive Coordinator – Utah State
1994 – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach – Nevada
1992-93 – Quarterbacks Coach – Arizona State
1990-91 – Offensive Coordinator – Idaho
1989 – Quarterbacks Coach – Idaho
1987-88 – Wide Receivers/Tight Ends Coach – Weber State
1985-86 – Offensive Coordinator – Carroll College (NAIA)
1984 – Graduate Assistant Quarterbacks Coach – Weber State
1983 – Graduate Assistant Coach – Carroll College (NAIA)
Head Coaching Records
2007 – Atlanta Falcons (NFL) – 3-10
2006 – Louisville – 12-1 (Big East champion; Orange Bowl, def. No. 12 Wake Forest, 24-13; No. 6 in final AP poll)
2005 – Louisville – 9-3 (Gator Bowl, L to No. 12 Virginia Tech, 35-24; No. 19 in final AP poll)
2004 – Louisville – 11-1 (Conference USA champion; Liberty Bowl, def. No. 10 Boise St., 44-40; No. 7 in final AP poll)
2003 – Louisville – 9-4 (GMAC Bowl, L to No. 14 Miami (Ohio), 49-28)