Source: Petrino to join Odom at UNLV as OC

Bobby Petrino, widely considered one of the game’s brightest offensive thinkers/playcalls, returns to the FBS ranks as offensive coordinator at UNLV under new coach Barry Odom, sources told ESPN on Thursday.

Petrino has been head coach at Missouri State for the last three seasons. He guided the Bears to FCS playoff appearances in two of his three seasons. When Petrino arrived, Missouri State had last played in the playoffs in 1990.

This will be Petrino’s first assistant coaching job since 2002, when he was offensive coordinator at Auburn. Overall, counting multiple promotions, this will be his 18th coaching job.

Petrino, 61, was very successful in his previous head coaching stops. He coached Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in Louisville, lifting Arkansas and Louisville to national relevance for the first time in years, and has won 66% of his games as a college head coach.

But he also faced controversy along the way, most notably in Arkansas, when he was fired in April 2012 after school officials said he lied about a motorcycle accident while riding with a woman Petrino hired as football staff and with whom he was dating. affair. The Hogs had won 11 games the previous season, including a Cotton Bowl victory, and finished at No. 1. They won 10 games in 2010 and played in the Sugar Bowl.

“Unfortunately, I will always carry it with me, how it ends there,” Petrino told ESPN this summer. “I hurt a lot of people and let a lot of people down.”

Petrino, who coached the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons for part of the 2007 season, was heavily criticized by coaches and players on that team for leaving to take the Arkansas job with three games remaining in the season. The Falcons were 3-10 at the time of Petrino’s sudden departure.

Petrino has two separate head coaching stints at Louisville. He led the Cardinals to a pair of top 10 finishes in 2004 and 2006, the only time this has happened in school history, before leaving to take the Falcons job after agreeing a new deal in Louisville. He quit coaching for one year in 2012 after being fired at Arkansas and then coached at Western Kentucky for one season before returning to Louisville.

His second stint in Louisville was also filled with victory all the way to the end. The Cardinals went 21-11 in 2014-17 league play and won nine games twice in four seasons, but it all unraveled in 2018. Petrino’s father died just before the start of the season, and the Cardinals have lost their last nine games, many of them lost. that defeat. Petrino was sacked with two games remaining in the season. He returned out of football for one year in 2019 before being hired at Missouri State.

Petrino’s penchant for calling out attacking plays and keeping the balance defensively has been praised by some of the best coaches in the country.

“After coaching against him – the things they do on offense, the way the boys have coached – it’s been phenomenal,” Alabama’s Nick Saban told ESPN this summer. “…He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever fought.”

New Louisville coach Jeff Brohm, who coached under Petrino at Western Kentucky and Louisville, added: “He was able to bring a group of students onto an intramural team, put them on the field and help them win games.”

Petrino has also discussed in recent weeks with Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher the job of the Aggies offensive coordinator and spoke with other schools about vacancies.

One of the highlights for Petrino about the UNLV job is the challenge of helping Odom rebuild the program, which has been on a losing streak for nine straight seasons. Las Vegas is also a short plane flight from where Petrino’s mother lives in Montana.

Petrino is scheduled to be in Las Vegas on Thursday night, and the deal is expected to be officially announced soon.

Petrino’s son-in-law, Ryan Beard, would be the top candidate to succeed him as head coach of Missouri State. Beard is the Bears’ defensive coordinator.

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