Coach Bobby Petrino speaking at a press conference after being released from hospital.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - Razorbacks head coach Bobby Petrino is out. After a five-day review University of Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long made the announcement at a press conference Tuesday night. Petrino was fired for cause and Long said there was no negotiation for him to stay.
The full presser and Q & A with AD Jeff Long is attached to this story.
Long became teary as he spoke of telling the team the decision to fire Petrino. Long had to take a moment and take a drink of water to compose himself to continue about his disappointment about Petrino's actions.
"No single individual is bigger than a team," Long said.
Long said Petrino abused his position and had four days to disclose the nature of his relationship with UA football staffer Jessica Dorrell, who was on the motorcycle with Petrino during his accident. Instead, he chose to hold a press conference and misled the university and the media.
He went on to say that Petrino engaged in manipulative behavior and damaged the university's integrity. This was a major deciding factor in his termination.
Long said Petrino's relationship gave her an unfair advantage in getting the job on his staff. He also said Petrino gave Dorrell $20,000. There were 159 applicants and three finalists were interviewed, including Dorrell.
Petrino recommended Dorrell for the spot during the interview process. Long said he never disclosed his relationship with her until moments before the Arkansas State Police accident report was released Thursday.
Long said that if that if Dorrell had not been hired as their student-athlete development coordinator, their relationship would not have violated university policy and would have been a personal family matter.
Long said Taver Johnson will continue leading the team through spring practice, which ends April 21, and then he will evaluate where they are with the search for a new coach.
"It's a difficult time to be looking for a new head coach, that's for sure," Long said. He also said that if they had to wait until this season was over to find the right person they would. However, he repeated more than once that it's too early to speculate.
Long hired Petrino and said, "If he hadn't been involved in this inappropriate behavior, no I wouldn't regret hiring him."
Long said that he feels that Razorbacks fans will rally around these student athletes and that he thinks their program will be very attractive for a new coach.
Bobby Petrino issued a statement late Tuesday night after the announcement. He said:
"I was informed in writing today at 5:45 p.m. that I was being terminated as head football coach at the University of Arkansas.
The simplest response I have is: I'm sorry. These two words seem very inadequate. But that is my heart. All I have been able to think about is the number of people I've let down by making selfish decisions.
I've taken a lot of criticism in the past. Some deserved, some not deserved. This time, I have no one to blame by myself. I chose to engage in an improper relationship. I also made several poor decisions following the end of that relationship and in the aftermath of the accident.
I accept full responsibility for what has happened. I'm sure you heard (athletic director) Jeff Long's reasons for termination. There was a lot of information shared. Given the decision that has been made, this is not the place to debate Jeff's view of what happened.
In the end, I put him in the position of having to sort through my mistakes and that is my fault.
I have hurt my wife Becky and our four children. I've let down the University of Arkansas, my team, coaching staff and everyone associated with the Razorback football program.
As a result of my personal mistakes, we will not finish our goal of building a championship program. I wish that I had been given the opportunity to meet with the players and staff prior to this evening's press conference and hope that I will be given the opportunity to give my apologies and say my goodbyes in person.
We have left the program in better shape than we found it and I want the Razorback Nation to know that is my hope that the program achieves the success it deserves.
My sole focus at this point is trying to repair the damage I've done to my family. They did not ask for any of this and deserve better. I am committed to being a better husband, father and human being as a result of this and will work each and every day to prove that to my family, friends and others.
I love football. I love coaching. I of course hope I can find my way back to the profession I love. In the meantime, I will do everything I can to heal the wounds I have created.
I want to thank Chancellor Gearhart, Jeff Long, the Board of Trustees, the university administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni and fans for the opportunity to serve as the head football coach at the University of Arkansas for the past four years. I was not given an opportunity to continue in that position. I wish that had been the case, but that was not my decision. I wish nothing but the best for the Razorback football program, the University and the entire Razorback Nation."