Missouri

Bobby Petrino leaving Missouri State for offensive coordinator job at UNLV

Bobby Petrino is leaving Missouri State to become offensive coordinator at UNLV, the school announced Thursday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Petrino has coached the Bears for three seasons, leading the program to an 18-15 record and two FCS playoff appearances.
  • He joins a Las Vegas staff led by former Missouri head coach Barry Odom and gives the Rebels two former SEC coaches.
  • UNLV went 5-7 overall in 2022 with a 3-5 record in the Mountain West Conference.

backstory

Petrino has 14 years of head coaching experience while working in Louisville (2003-06, 2014-18), Arkansas (2008-11) and Western Kentucky (2013). He also coached 13 games with the Atlanta Falcons in 2007. He completed less than one full NFL season before leaving Atlanta for a job at Arkansas.

For four seasons it was a perfect marriage. After 13 wins in his first two seasons, Petrino took a 21-5 lead in 2010 and 2011 and led the Razorbacks to their first BCS bowl and their first 11-win season since 1977. Things took a turn when Petrino was involved in a motorcycle accident April 2012 and lied to the school and the media about the details of the crash. Arkansas later discovered that Petrino was having an extramarital affair with a student and athlete development coordinator in the football program, who was on the back of his motorcycle during the accident.

The Razorbacks fired Petrino nine days after the crash for his multiple dishonesty regarding the incident.

Petrino coached in western Kentucky for a season before returning to Louisville in 2014. His second stint with the Cardinals resulted in the school firing him in November 2018 with two games remaining in the season. Louisville was on a seven-game sled at the time of Petrino’s dismissal.

Why is Petrino joining UNLV?

Petrino’s luster had faded after going winless at the ACC in Louisville in 2018, but after a year out he’d had Missouri State ranked in the FCS top 15 for consecutive seasons, including a joint title at the Missouri Valley Conference in Year 1 when the League five top had 25 teams. The Bears fell back to 5-6 in 2022 but nearly beat Arkansas in their lone FBS match.

Petrino’s controversial departures from Louisville, Atlanta and Arkansas still follow him, but so does the offensive expertise and quarterback development that earned him those opportunities. Odom handed the reins of his offense to Josh Heupel when he first took the job in Missouri, and Heupel turned that into a head coaching job at UCF. Odom takes a similar approach in his second job as head coach. – Ubben

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(Photo: Nelson Chenault / USA Today)

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