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December 10, 2012
I'm aware of his past.
I understand that Bobby Petrino signed a 10-year extension at Louisville in July 2006, only to leave the school for the Falcons in Jan. 2007.
I get that he left the Falcons in the middle of the following regular season at 3-10.
I know he lied about his motorcycle accident at Arkansas, subsequently leading to his dismissal from the school.
But I also saw the heartbreak from Hilltopper fans when Willie Taggart bolted for South Florida.
I also witnessed fans question the entire direction of an athletic department, watching their head coach walk out the door after the administration did everything in its power to keep him from leaving.
And that's why I'm confident in saying this is the best possible hire Western Kentucky could have made.
"It's like the stock market. If you get a coach worth $4.5 million for $850k, you have to buy. Buy, buy, buy. It's an easy decision."
Willie Taggart took over an 0-12 program, turned it into 2-10, 7-5, and another 7-5 season that included a win over Kentucky in Lexington.
Some Hilltopper fans were saying there has NEVER been a better time to be a Western Kentucky fan.
Then Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic leave for Conference USA.
WKU lands its first bowl game in school history.
Then the head coach leaves before even coaching it.
A coach that told fans, "Who has it better than us?", before bolting.
It'd be an understatement to say the fan base was crushed.
But before WKU fans could even come full circle with their disappointment in Taggart, Bobby Petrino was hired.
Hello Western Kentucky, breaking news on Sportscenter.
This was a significant crossing point for the future of WKU athletics.
Hire an up-and-coming assistant coach from another school, maybe an experienced head coach just looking for a school to retire at.
The kind of coach the average Sun Belt school lands.
Or...take a chance on a homerun hire?
If you're Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky, you don't take a chance on Bobby Petrino.
As an SEC school, you've got plenty of other quality options to choose from.
But WKU doesn't have a chance at a Mark Stoops or Butch Jones.
They did have a chance at Bobby Petrino.
On a day when Kentucky announced Neal Brown would be leaving Texas Tech to join Stoops at Kentucky as offensive coordinator, the big news was happening at Western Kentucky.
Who would have ever thought in the Bluegrass State that a coaching hire at WKU would overshadow a hire at Kentucky?
It does when you get someone the caliber of Bobby Petrino.
If Petrino leads WKU to new heights, 10-2 or even 11-1 overall for two seasons and bolts, he has to pay WKU $1.2 million in six monthly payments, beginning the month after termination.
That's on top of $500,000 WKU is already receiving from South Florida for the Coach Taggart hire.
WKU gets a few winning seasons, and vital revenue for a school left behind in the conference realignment race.
In every way, this is the best possible hire Western Kentucky could make.
Was it the best possible hire Tennessee could make? Or Kentucky? No.
But for Western Kentucky, this is an out-of-the-park hire.
Petrino is so dynamic, a media member at the hiring press conference asked if Kentucky had contacted WKU about buying out of the 2013 game in Nashville, after hearing the news about Petrino.
Joking, of course.
But how many hires could a Sun Belt school make that would cause media to even joke about an SEC school buying out of a future game?
So Hilltopper fans, especially those worried about Petrino's past---Sit back, ask yourselves this question, and get ready for a wild ride.
"Who has it better than us now?"
Western Kentucky NEWS