If you believe in karma then Bobby Petrino’s tenure at Arkansas was destined to end badly. You don’t leave a job mid-season — mid-first-season — for another job and get congratulated with a happy ending.
But no one saw it ending as it did, with Petrino scarred and embarrassed, wearing a neck brace, facing the music after it was discovered he had placed his mistress into a job under his control and then lied about it.
Petrino was actually succeeding on the field when the fateful motorcycle crash happened. An 8-5 season in 2009, a 10-3 campaign with a Sugar Bowl trip in 2010 and then an 11-2 mark with a Cotton Bowl victory and a Top 5 finish in 2011 — but you simply don’t come back from something like that.
Petrino sat out the 2012 season, returned to the game at Western Kentucky in 2013 and returned to Louisville a year later, where he remained until last season.
Now out of coaching for a second time, Petrino returned to Arkansas to speak to the Little Rock Touchdown Club and apologized.
“I wanted to come here and apologize to everybody — the fans, the players — and truly tell you how sorry I am for the way it ended. But I also wanted to come here to thank you for everything that people in this room and in this state did for me and my family. You were great to us.”
A visibly and audibly emotional Petrino was then interrupted by a standing ovation.
Here is Bobby Petrino's teary moment at the @LRTouchdownClub… "I wanted to be able to come here and apologize to everybody…. and truly tell you how sorry I am for the way it ended." pic.twitter.com/rw3cyvlbJG
— Kyle Deckelbaum (@KATVKyle) September 9, 2019
Catharsis is good for the soul, and clearly it was good for Petrino to stand up and say the words that are now more than seven years in the waiting.