Report: Louisville set to hire Petrino

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jan 08 2014 02:54:41 PM EST
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Louisville is on the brink of bringing back former Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino.

Yahoo! Sports reported that athletic director Tom Jurich was to meet with Petrino's agent on Wednesday to hammer out final contract details and that the school plans to introduce him as as their new coach on Thursday. The official announcement would come after a meeting with the Louisville Athletic Association's personnel committee to approve Petrino's hiring.

Petrino emerged from six candidates who interviewed for the Cardinals' head-coaching vacancy left by Charlie Strong's departure to Texas.

Petrino, who completed his first season in 2013 at Western Kentucky with an 8-4 record, was interviewed Tuesday by Louisville athetic director Tom Jurich, ESPN reported.

Other possible candidates were Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason and Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris.

Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and defensive coordinator Vance Bedford also received interviews, according to ESPN, but the Austin American-Statesman reported that Bedford will follow Strong to Texas and serve in the same position in Austin.

The 52-year-old Petrino's first coaching gig was at Louisville, where he went 41-9 in four seasons (2003-06) and led the Cardinals to an Orange Bowl victory in 2006. He then left for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. After one season there, he moved on to Arkansas in 2008 but was fired in April 2012 after a scandal that involved a "pattern of misleading behavior."

In December 2012, Petrino signed a four-year contract at Western Kentucky with a base salary of $850,000.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio didn't address Narduzzi's candidacy at Louisville specifically when speaking with reporters on Tuesday, but he realizes the Spartans' defensive coordinator is an attractive candidate coming off the team's 13-1 season and Rose Bowl championship.

"When you're successful, everybody's going to have opportunities," Dantonio said. "When there are good opportunities for your guys, you want the best for them, so whatever's going to be best for him as we go through this. But it's a win-win situation."

Strong left Louisville for Texas after a 12-1 season in 2013. He replaces Mack Brown, who stepped down after guiding the Longhorns for 16 years.

Apparently coming with Strong to Texas is Bedford, who this season produced a unit that ranked No. 1 in FBS in total defense and No. 2 in scoring defense.

Bedford is a Texas native who played cornerback for the Longhorns in the early 1980s.

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