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Letters to Bobby Petrino

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Georgia Tech v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Perhaps the renowned English writer Charles Dickens would have been a University of Louisville Football fan had he not been born over 200 years ago. Dickens once wrote in his famous novel “ A Tale of Two Cities” that, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age foolishness.” I don’t think a phrase from any novel I’ve ever read (well, I used Cliffs Notes) could have summed up the first and second coaching stints of Bobby Petrino’s time at UofL any more precisely .

Having once been a loyal supporter and fan of Petrino, I’d be lying if I said I was anything but elated yesterday morning when I heard the news that Vince Tyra had finally fired him and part of his staff. In looking back through both of Bobby’s coaching stops at Louisville, my emotions are as mixed as a UofL Tervis tumbler full of oil and water.

Part of me wants to genuinely thank Bobby for all the good things he did or played a part of that elevated my alma mater to greater college football heights, while the other half wants to remind him of all the reasons why he brought apathy in its purest form into my Louisville Football fandom life.

Before dwelling on the negative, and there’s an abundance to be touched upon, I’d like to pretend for a second that I had a way of sending Coach Petrino a positive message – perhaps a short letter, one of goodwill and genuine thanks. I would imagine the letter reading as follows…..

Dear Coach Petrino,

Thank you for all the good times you provided as the head coach of the Louisville Football Program. You endeared yourself to me right away with your explosive, high powered offenses and your ability to morph good players, like Stefan LeFors, into great players. I can’t thank you enough for hiring competent staffs who could recruit great out of state talent and, at times, even the best talent in the country right in your own back yard like Michael Bush and Brian Brohm.

Watching the team I grew up rooting for win a BCS Bowl for the first time in school history was such a thrill and I’ll never forget the “Black Out” victory at home over a top 5 West Virginia team and how it took me almost five hours to thaw out after getting back home.

But most of all, I want to thank you for hating Kentucky and absolutely owning them in the Governor’s Cup rivalry. You’ll never know what that will always mean to me!

I know things may not have worked out this second time around, but as I mentioned above there are many other positive memories to hold on to such as a Heisman Trophy winner and your Foundation that has and will continue to help a lot of folks in the community. Best of luck to you now and always, Coach.

Based on how abysmal things had gotten up until and after the blowout loss at Syracuse this past Friday night, it feels strange even reflecting on anything having to do with Bobby Petrino that would be considered positive. In that vein, it’s only fitting that I draft a second letter – one that doesn’t tell Bobby how thankful I am for what he accomplished at UofL but rather how tickled pink I am that he’s gone.

Dear Coach Petrino,

Goodbye, and by all means don’t let the door hit you in the back on your merry way to your local bank. I hope when you get there you have to deal with an Arkansas alum or a diehard Falcons fan.

I can’t even begin to tell you how disappointed I am (and perhaps countless other UofL fans) after watching in horror as you methodically ran the University of Louisville Football program into the ground.

I’m just glad that starting tomorrow I no longer have to ever listen to your long list of nonchalant, juvenile excuses as to why the Cards got dismantled in a football game. Here are some words of advice: if you ever work again, stop playing everyone for a fool. Anyone with half a brain knows how asinine it is to say that “practicing hard”, “having fun” and “learning to tackle better” is when it comes to a power 5 football program turning things around. Do you really believe your own BS?

Ya know Bobby, it sounds crazy to say but I think things may have worked out ok this second time around had you not come back to UofL trying to be someone you simply aren’t. I remember a Bobby Petrino who woke up with a scowl on his face and not a shit eatin’ grin. I remember a Bobby Petrino who hired qualified, competent assistant coaches and not family members who would be lucky to land on most Division 2 football staffs (no offense D2 schools). I remember a Bobby Petrino who was innovative and could out scheme any defensive coordinator in the country. But remembering all those things doesn’t make them so as we, the Louisville fans, got something completely different this go around.

I’ll admit I was cautiously optimistic when I first heard that Tom Jurich had hired you a second time. I never cared for how you walked out on the program the way that you did and went to coach the Altanta Falcons. But, I was willing to look past that incident in addition to the motorcycle wreck debacle to that ultimately lead to your dismissal at Arkansas because of ONE thing: your ability to produce teams that won football games.

Oh, how naïve was I? The ACC isn’t the Big East or Conference USA and you, my friend, haven’t won many football games in the 2.0 era. In fact, I think you had approximately FOURTEEN opportunities to beat ranked opponents in your second tenure at The Ville and did so only once due in large part to the overall athleticism of one of the all-time great college football players.

Coach, you have left things so bad that there are even factions of fans that don’t want to think about the possibility of former UofL great Jeff Brohm replacing you simply because he was on your staff at one time. I mean that’s pretty damn bad wouldn’t you agree?

College football is a business, so you had to know the end was near. I’m not trying to pummel a man while he’s down but venting seems to be the only way that I as one fan can start to feel better. Good luck in your future endeavors and I still cannot believe you lost to Kentucky at home with Lamar Jackson as your quarterback. Sheesh…..


For the first time in several weeks I look to the future of Louisville Football with optimism. I think Vince Tyra will make the right decision regarding a new head coach, one that will bring the fan base back together and rejuvenate the pulse of a program that is close to coding. The next two weeks, which looked bleak just days ago, will now take on a new meaning. It will provide the fans a chance to show the student athletes that we DO care and we will support this team as this season rounds out. There will be no bowl game for the first time in many years (forgot to sarcastically thank Bobby for that) but there is still something to play for – a chance for these players to prove to themselves that they belong on the field with a good NC State and a nationally ranked Kentucky team. I’m hoping for good results, but most of all I’m hoping for something to hang my hat on heading into a new era of Louisville Football.

Go Cards!