Fayetteville, Ark. — Arkansas fired head football Coach Bobby Petrino on Tuesday, saying he engaged in reckless behavior that included hiring his mistress, 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell, and then intentionally misleading his bosses about their relationship and her presence at the motorcycle accident that ultimately cost him his job.
“He made the decision to mislead the public, [and it] adversely affected the university and the football program,” Athletic Director Jeff Long said at an evening news conference, choking up at one point as he discussed telling players the news. There was a “pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior to deceive me.”
The “truth” was made public when the state police released Petrino’s motorcycle accident report days later.
Petrino, a married father of four, informed Long of Dorrell’s presence 20 minutes before the police released the report to the public, also admitting to what he called a previous inappropriate relationship with Dorrell.
Long placed Petrino on paid leave later that night, saying he was disappointed in Petrino and promising to review the coach’s conduct.
Petrino’s firing — which comes “with cause,” thereby denying him the $18 million buyout included in his contract — brings an end to a stunning and sudden fall for the former Atlanta Falcons coach.
“I have no one to blame but myself,” Petrino said in a statement issued late Tuesday evening. “I chose to engage in an improper relationship. I also made several poor decisions following the end of that relationship and in the aftermath of the accident. I accept full responsibility for what has happened.”
Petrino finishes with a 34-17 record in four seasons, 21-5 over his final two — leading the Razorbacks to a No. 5 final ranking last season and a Cotton Bowl win over Kansas State.
Jeff Long officially announces Bobby Petrino’s firing in the video clip below:
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via CBS Sports