Western Kentucky hires Bobby Petrino as football coach - WKRN News 2

Western Kentucky hires Bobby Petrino as football coach

Posted: Updated: Dec 10, 2012 09:12 PM

Bobby Petrino was introduced Monday as the new Western Kentucky Hilltoppers' head football coach.

Fifty-one-year-old Petrino replaces Willie Taggart, who left WKU last week to become South Florida's coach.

Petrino had a 34-17 record at Arkansas and is 75-26 overall as a college head coach. He is looking forward to "building on the standards" that Taggart established.

"I will come to this stadium everyday and give my all to these student athletes, to this University and to Hilltopper nation," Petrino said at Monday's news conference.

Petrino was fired by Arkansas in April for a "pattern of misleading" behavior following a motorcycle accident.

Petrino had an affair with former Razorback volleyball player Jessica Dorrell, who he later hired as a football assistant had gave $20,000 in gifts. Petrino said initially he was the only person on the motorcycle but later admitted to Dorrell's presence.

"I basically have spent the last eight months working with my family, trying to make things right with my wife Becky and my children," said Petrino.

Petrino said he and his wife Becky "consider this coming home."

WKU is willing to give Petrino a second chance, and believe Petrino is the right man for the job.

"I'm convinced from the conversations that I've had with him [Petrino] and other people that know him very well that he is a better man and a better coach because of it," said WKU Director of Athletics, Todd Stewart.

Fans and students are also willing to overlook Petrino's past.

"At the end of the day, he [Petrino] can win football games and that's what, we as a student, that's what I want, my team to win and have everybody excited around the campus," said WKU student Derek Higdon.

WKU football player Damarcus Smith added, "If you play the game and if you're a real fan of the game, you understand that this is a business and winning cures it all so he's [Petrino] definitely a winner. He's proven that throughout these years."

The university is now just looking ahead to the future.

"What it really comes down to is are we getting better every year and if we're getting better every year and we're going to places we haven't been before that's the primary goal," Stewart said.

WKU is set to make its first ever bowl game appearance on December 26, taking on Central Michigan in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

*The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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