Bobby Petrino was welcomed back to the NCAA coaching ranks by two SEC opponents, the Kentucky Wildcats and Tennessee Volunteers, in his first two weeks as head coach of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
The Hilltoppers split the run, defeating Kentucky before losing big to Tennessee. The team returns to its Sun Belt Conference schedule this weekend but it shouldn't be too long before Petrino, the former Arkansas Razorbacks head coach, is on the top circuit on a consistent basis again.
Petrino was of course fired by Arkansas for easily Google-able indiscretions before taking a year off to make things right with his family and then returning to the sidelines with Western Kentucky, conceivably the only team that would take a chance on him.
For his part Petrino is saying all the right things upon his return, and likely will continue to do so as he slowly reminds everyone just how good a coach and recruiter he is while at the same time hoping his past mistakes slowly fade to the back of people's minds.
Petrino has too strong a track record turning Louisville into a perennial contender and revitalizing a struggling Arkansas program for another big profile school in need not to “forgive him.” Kobe was forgiven, Tiger was forgiven, Petrino will be forgiven too.
There is too much money to be had for a school not to do everything it can to win, and that could mean hiring the previously successful Petrino to run the show.
As part of his four-year contract with the Hilltoppers, Petrino would be forced to repay the school $1.2 million if he leaves early. Chump change for a top NCAA program. Western Kentucky's best hope may be for Petrino to put the school on the map before he departs for greener pastures.