College Football

UNLV hires Bobby Petrino to run offense

(AP Photo/Michael Woods, File)


AP Sports Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) Bobby Petrino, known for his high-powered offenses and messy departures, was hired Thursday as UNLV's new offensive coordinator.

Petrino, who went 18-15 over the past three seasons at FCS-level Missouri State, will be part of UNLV coach Barry Odom's staff. Odom was hired Dec. 6 to replace Marcus Arroyo, who was fired after the Rebels went 5-7 this season.

"I believe coach Petrino is one of the greatest offensive minds in all of football," Odom said in a statement. "I know he will be a tremendous leader, mentor and teacher for our student-athletes. I'm thrilled to bring his experience to UNLV. His creativity on offense will compliment our program in every way."

Petrino was 119-56 over 14 seasons as an FBS head coach, taking Louisville to eight bowl appearances over two stints and Arkansas to three bowls. Under Petrino, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 2016.

"We had a great three years at Missouri State, but I thought this was the time in my career to step away from the head role and get back into a coordinator position to focus on moving the ball and scoring points and helping win games in Las Vegas," Petrino said in a statement.

With all of his success, Petrino also had his shares of controversies.

He signed a 10-year contract before the 2006 season with Louisville but left a year later for the Atlanta Falcons. After a 3-10 start in 2007, he left for Arkansas.

Petrino twice won at least 10 games with the Razorbacks, including two New Year's Six bowl appearances, but he was fired in 2012. He lied about a motorcycle accident involving a female staffer and failed to disclose when she was hired that the two were in an extramarital relationship.

After coaching Western Kentucky in 2013, Petrino returned to Louisville for five seasons. The Cardinals won at least eight games in each of the first four years but Petrino was fired after going 2-8 in 2018.


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Updated December 15, 2022

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