John L. Smith Named Bobby Petrino's Successor, Leaves Weber State After Five Months
The "gust of wind" that blew Bobby Petrino off of his motorcycle swallowed up another victim on Monday.
The Weber State football team now joins the University of Arkansas, Petrino's wife, Petrino's kids, Jessica Dorrell, the pride and self-esteem of Dorrell's fiancé Josh Morgan, and a slew of other ancillary players whose lives have been altered by Petrino's inability to control his
libido bike on that fateful Sunday afternoon.
How exactly does Weber State football factor in?
Well, say hello to the University of Arkansas's interim head football coach hire -- former Louisville (Yes! Another former Louisville coach!), Michigan State and Weber State head coach John L. Smith!
On Monday, Smith agreed to a ten-month contract for $850,000 to take over the reins of the Arkansas football program on an interim basis. When last Smith mattered on the college football landscape, he was busy overseeing the demise of the Michigan State football program in 2006, a free fall probably best punctuated by this sideline rant going into halftime of the Ohio State game....
....and late-game meltdowns like this one against Notre Dame that led to a local radio host practically dying of a heart attack on air as he called for the public executions of Smith and his staff:
So how are Arkansas and Smith connected? Well, in 2009, after being out of coaching for a couple years, Petrino hired Smith as his special teams coach, a position he held the last three seasons until he was hired this past December as the new head coach at his alma mater, Weber State!
Yes, Smith's tenure at Weber State has lasted exactly one recruiting class and zero games on the field. In the museum of sleazy coaching moves, Smith's defection to Arkansas less than five months after arriving in Ogden is the Mona Lisa, especially when you take into account that it was allegedly Smith that proactively reached out to Long to see if his services were required in Fayetteville!
You want funny? Check out the video of Smith's introductory presser at Weber State from last December. Fast-forward to about the 7:30 mark where he begins gushing about how "big time" the program is, and have a barf bag handy for the 8:23 mark where he says he's "thankful" to be at Weber State and chases that with an exclamation of his goal of a national championship (followed by the poor Weber sheep clapping in a press conference).
Other favorite parts from that video:
11:25 -- Smith waxing about his accepting the Weber State job as a chance for him to give something back to the university.
Various times -- The smattering of questions about conference realignment and the bowl system from a press corps at a Division 1-AA school -- where neither conference realignment nor bowls matter.
19:05 -- Smith being asked what he has left to do at Arkansas and it's the usual mishmosh of "We have to pack up and say goodbyes, which are tearful, blah blah blah..." Apparently, there was more left to do.
20:25 -- Smith is asked how he got involved with Weber State and he says he called athletics director Jerry Bovee and said, "Hey, I know if a good coach!" I wonder if his pitch to Long was the same script.
21:00 -- (Barf warning) About his middle initial, Smith points out that "The L does stand for 'Lucky.'" Or "leaving."
28:15 -- In discussing his offense, Smith talks about how he and Dennis Erickson put it together. I had no idea John L. Smith's scumbag family tree was so far-reaching!
At one point in that Weber State press conference, when discussing his time in Arkansas, Smith points out that Petrino had actually worked for him at several stops along the way in his coaching career. Well, at least now we know from whom Bobby Petrino learned his "leave in the middle of the night, ask questions later" maneuver, the move he used on the Falcons.
Smith just executed it to perfection on poor Weber State.
Birds of a feather, they are.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.