It was the morning of April 3 when we first saw the headlines, and it seemed like an innocent enough story at the time -- out for a Sunday, Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino crashed his motorcycle and was taken to the hospital to treat some non-life-threatening injuries.
In a statement issued through the university, Petrino's family said the coach "is in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery. Our family appreciates respect for our privacy during the recovery and we are grateful for the thoughts of Razorback fans at this time."
As a college football head coach, and the most important person in the state of Arkansas, Bobby Petrino could control a lot of things. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for the rest of us), the public nature and accessibility of police reports is not one of those things.
The police report on the crash came out a few days later, and much like Petrino himself as he careened off the bike a few days earlier, worlds would be turned upside down.
The owner of several motorcycles, Bobby Petrino had been a motorcycle enthusiast for his entire adult life:
In a 2008 interview with Northwest Arkansas Media, Petrino said he has been an avid rider since he was ten. The Helena, Mont., native said at the time that he owned a Harley-Davidson and four other motorcycles.
"It's relaxing to me," Petrino said then. "You get out and you get to see some good scenery, and I like to ride up to Beaver Lake. It's pretty up there. I've been around the outdoors. I grew up around the outdoors my whole life."
As it turns out, the joy ride which resulted in Petrino's winding up in the hospital included a second passenger, a female co-worker (subordinate, actually) named Jessica Dorrell who had been an Arkansas volleyball player in her college years. Not coincidentally, she was also sexy, blond and half Petrino's age.
Riding up to Beaver Lake, indeed.
The ripple effects of Petrino's dalliance, deceit and eventual termination were felt throughout the college football world, from Weber State to eventually Wisconsin and Western Kentucky, where Petrino ultimately landed just a few weeks ago as their head coach in an effort to begin his likely rapid ascension back to the upper levels of the sport.
I don't know if the Petrino Affair (proper noun status!) was the most compelling and landscape-changing sports topic of 2012 (Jerry Sandusky's 40 years of hell rained down in State College, PA kind of froze out most other topics this past year.), but it was easily the most written about in this space.
And thus, the topic gets its own recap post as we close out 2012 and ring in 2013. For those of you wanting the definitive timeline, all the stories, and a veritable blog "box set" on all things Petrino, here you go.
I got everything from the firing of Petrino, the disclosure of his phone records and résumé, the quasi-liquidation of some of his assets, the hiring of John L. Smith (who, by the way, was the most logical hire to replace Petrino in that, like this whole story, he made almost no sense), to the eventual, predictable "redemption" interview with Petrino on ESPN.
Enjoy! Oh, and GO HILLTOPPERS!
April 10, 2012 Video from the Spelling-Optional "Save Bobby Petrino!" Rally
April 11, 2012 Arkansas Fires Head Football Coach Bobby Petrino (w/ VIDEO)
April 12, 2012 Awesome Discoveries in Bobby Petrino's Phone Records
April 13, 2012 Bobby Petrino's House Is for Sale (w/ Link to Photo Montage)
April 23, 2012 6 Awesome Things About Bobby Petrino's Resume
May 10, 2012 Bobby Petrino's Busted Motorcycle Is for Sale!
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August 10, 2012 He's Back! Bobby Petrino's Apology Infomercial On ESPN
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