Louisville football latest Power Five program to join KU in coaching search


FILE — Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Boston College in Boston, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Louisville fired Petrino on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

FILE — Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Boston College in Boston, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Louisville fired Petrino on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

A week after University of Kansas Athletic director Jeff Long officially began looking for David Beaty’s replacement, another potential competitor has entered the coaching search fray.

News broke Sunday morning that Louisville’s administration decided to fire football coach Bobby Petrino, effective immediately.

So any coach looking to move on from his current job or upgrade to a Power Five conference now has three programs to ponder.

Even before Long decided to fire Beaty, the football job at Maryland opened up, following a tumultuous year for former head coach D.J. Durkin. Now that Louisville is actively looking to make a hiring splash, too, it’s possible Long’s pool of candidates could overlap with those of athletic directors in both the Big Ten and ACC.

Louisville’s struggles this season — the Cardinals (2-8 overall, 0-7 ACC) have only defeated Indiana State and Western Kentucky — led to Petrino’s demise. However, the program overall has remained quite successful this past decade, even as it transitioned from the Big East to the American to the ACC.

This will mark the Cardinals’ first losing season since 2009, ending U of L’s streak of eight consecutive bowl appearances under, first, Charlie Strong and, then, Petrino.

In fact, the only significant lull for Louisville football in the past 20 years came and went relatively quickly, with three losing seasons under Steve Kragthorpe from 2007-09. Louisville has played in 17 bowl games since 1998, including the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Citrus Bowl.

So if you were a football coach fielding interest from Louisville Athletic Director Vince Tyra and KU’s Long, which program would look more attractive?

The Jayhawks (3-7, 1-6 Big 12) might be slightly better this season than the Cardinals, but KU football hasn’t won more than three games in a season since a former administration forced out head coach Mark Mangino following the 2009 season.

Then, there’s Maryland. Despite the public perception hit that the program took the past several months with reports of bullying and abuse under Durkin’s watch, it remains a viable landing spot for respected coaches. Maryland (5-5, 3-4 Big Ten) may reach a bowl this season. It would be the Terrapins’ fifth postseason appearance since the start of the 2010 season, a stretch during which the program is 47-63.

KU is now 18-88 in the post-Mangino era. Louisville, in that same span, is 73-41.

Long is running a confidential search, so it’s tough to decipher who is really on his short list and who isn’t. Still, it’s possible these job openings — and any that follow at other Power Five schools before he makes his hire — could limit Long’s options.

The other aspect of Petrino’s firing that’s at least worth mentioning, even if it doesn’t end up substantive, is that Long used to work with the now-available coach. When Long was at Arkansas, he hired Petrino, and the football coach led the Razorbacks to a 34-17 record from 2008-11, as Arkansas played in the Liberty Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl.

Long had to fire Petrino in 2012, though, after the coach’s motorcycle accident eventually revealed Petrino had hired his mistress to work for the program.

Although Petrino, 57, owns a 119-56 career coaching record between his two stints at Louisville (2003-06 and 2014-18), a one-year run at Western Kentucky and four years with Arkansas, it’s extremely improbable Long would consider a reunion at KU.

When Long announced Petrino’s firing in 2012, he said, "In short, Coach Petrino engaged in a pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior designed to deceive me and members of the athletic staff, both before and after the motorcycle accident."

The entire debacle at least played a part in Arkansas moving on from Long as its AD in November of 2017. He would have zero motivation to reconcile that ugly divorce.


Steven Haag 11 months, 1 week ago

I can hear it now.....let be the first to call it. The “man” that certain fans wanted for KU will be lured away to Maryland or Louisville and those certain fans will blame Beaty or Long for it. Count on it. It might have nothing to do with the fact that someone may not want to come here with this awesome supportive fan base😂😂😂😂😂

Kevin Robert Fest 11 months, 1 week ago

Steven you make it sound like the only reason a coach or recruit will or will not come here is the fan base. How narrow minded of you. Some players or coaches WILL NOT go to Bama, LSU, USC, MICH because those fan bases are ravenous and football is 365, at KU it last until Bob season starts. There every move or decision is under a microscope. Like some how if the KU fans are sick of being a doormat those fans are considered non supportive. I'm wondering if Bryson changed his name to Steven. You're not smart Steven sadly you think you are.

Brett McCabe 11 months, 1 week ago

Louisville and Maryland are both better jobs, today, than KU. Though Steven may not understand that this is a competition, we are actually competing with other schools for players and now coaches. If KSU moves on without Snyder, make it three better programs.

I am a strong supporter of the Triple Option coach. Whether it be Monken or someone else, KU needs to make a move towards a coach who can build, who is used to working with below-the-radar athletes and who won't be gone in four years.

KSU will get Leavitt or they'll go with the Triple Option or something better because they are smarter than we are. Here's hoping that Long's public self-assurance is covering for intelligence and humility - because that's what we need.

Dane Pratt 11 months, 1 week ago

UL & UM are definitely better jobs. KU is not the least attractive D1 job but given the hole we are in and that we are in a conference whose future is in doubt, this is I believe the least attractive P5 job in all of college.

Michael Maris 11 months, 1 week ago

Louisville main target is rumored to be Brohm (at Purdue).

Brett McCabe 11 months, 1 week ago

Which would open Purdue, also currently a better job than KU. This is how the carousel works.

Steve Corder 11 months, 1 week ago

I’ok tell you what a better job is.....bigger bucks. $$$ talks

Dirk Medema 11 months, 1 week ago

Kstate is smarter than us. Now that's funny. Didn't realize you were such a jokester.

Kstate got the winning lottery ticket with one coach - period. And just like the first run are now regressing.

So much perceived knowledge so undermined by reality.

Brett McCabe 11 months, 1 week ago

Here's win in 20 years. One of the three worst football programs in America. A yesterday-loss to the worst team Snyder or KSU has had since his first year on the job. Too much reality for you to handle, I think. Funny how their regression still beats us. Goodness, the stupidity is outweighed only by the lack of historical understanding.

Dirk Medema 11 months, 1 week ago

Benton - Thank you for pointing out the messy divorce so we don't have listen to others pontificate on how he is the answer to our problems.

Steven Haag 11 months, 1 week ago

Kevin, I truly ge that it actually much more than just the fan base when a coach thinks about coming here. My post was “way over the top” on purpose. Just like the on and on and on hating towards Beaty is over the top. The new coach, whoever it may be, will want the support of the fan base.....that’s very important, more so to the players. The coach will want at least 3-4 years to once again try and turn the program around. The question is, will the fan base give him that? Based upon the last 10 years and the comments I’ve seen, the answer is no. 18 months is about all they get before the wolves start coming

Len Shaffer 11 months, 1 week ago

Steven, what you can't seem to grasp is that the fans weren't down on Beaty because they were impatient; they were down on Beaty because he was HORRIBLE. There were NO signs of progress until some minor signs this year, when he sold out on his original plan by going with a large number of juco transfers. And even this year, we saw horrible decision after horrible decision. Beaty was simply not cut out to be a head coach, and anyone with an IQ over 40 could see that.

If a new coach comes in and doesn't win a lot but people see clear signs of progress, that the new guy has a plan, and that he has at least basic abilities when it comes to in-game decisions, the reaction won't be nearly the same as it was for Beaty.

What you also seem unable to grasp is that there is virtually no other school in America whose fans would be any more "supportive" than we have been if they had to endure the non-stop mess that we've had to put up with for the last decade.

The fact is that people have choices, and it is not our OBLIGATION to be supportive of the football team no matter how putrid a product they put out.

Jeff Coffman 11 months, 1 week ago

My wish list, but I'm not sure I know all of the candidates:

1) Leach

2) Miles

3) Doeren

4) Venables

5) Enos

6) Kiffen...he might drop based on other candidates coming to light.

Bob Stoops would be a dream and would be near number 1, but not sure he really is a candidate

70+) Monken and the Tulane Guy

103) Bobby Petrino (He could fall if there are more than 102 other candidates.

Dane Pratt 11 months, 1 week ago

Not sure how Leach keeps appearing on peoples wish list. He's got WSU on course for a Rose Bowl appearance and possibly in the playoffs. And he will leave Pullman to come to KU because.........

Jeff Coffman 11 months, 1 week ago

Key word is he is on my wish list, I'm not sure if he is available.

Steven Haag 11 months, 1 week ago

Jeff, why are you so high on Leach? I’m not sure KU is built for the air raid. Granted he would recruit to that end, but how long would it take him. Not sure people are willing to be that patient

Jeff Coffman 11 months, 1 week ago

Mike Leach has coached in Texas Tech, where he inherited a poor team and recruited Texas and developed an exciting offensive team. He went to a bowl game every year he was at Texas Tech. Since he has left Texas Tech has struggled to stay relevant holding on barely to their football prowess.

At the time of being fired (remember for putting a player in a dark room who had a concussion, which technically was what doctors recommend, but it was an ESPN broadcaster, so it ruined his tenure at TTU). He had lawsuits with the BXII at the time, and so he couldn't join KU and hired on at Washington State, which was in dire situation. By year 2 he was in a bowl game and has won 9 games in 3 of the past 4 years (including this year).

Ultimately he wins and has rebuilt two teams, I personally think it is a long shot, but if we haven't called him, we haven't done our due diligence. If he is willing to come back to the central region, we could surely use him.

Dane Pratt 11 months, 1 week ago

Petrino went to 4 bowl games in 4 years during his first stint at Louisville and did the same the second time around but had one bad season and he’s gone.

Jim Stauffer 11 months, 1 week ago

Petrino is a mess. He is being fired, not because he lost games this year, but the dummy hired half his family to coach and that is the reason he lost games. He used L'ville's program to enrich his own family and is paying the price. He has quit working hard enough to be a HC P5.

Layne Pierce 11 months, 1 week ago

Ok Yes 3 or 4 years to get to a bowl game, but attention to detail, player development, on and off field discipline, maximization of talent, these will be evident from the very beginning, and if we are honest, we know that the bad signs were there with everyone since Mangino, and we could see it, if we looked.

Scott Frost is not winning every game at Nebraska, but the team is improving game by game, and it is obvious.


Andy Tweedy 11 months, 1 week ago

Exactly! I was on the Hill for two years of Bob Valesente and two years of Glen Mason. The records were almost identical, but the product was night and day! Mason's teams were so much more disciplined, so much tougher and so much more competitive, it was clear better things were on the horizon. That's all I want...hope!!!

Joe Black 11 months, 1 week ago

Let's hire Sheahon Zenger to coach the team. He was around when Mangino was at KU so he should know how to win!


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