College football was treated to the Oprah effect (“You get a coach and you get a coach and you get a coach!”) today as four programs found out who their new leader will be. So who went where? Here’s a handy recap:
Day 2 of the College World Series in Omaha started much like the way Day 1 started: with a Cinderella team struggling to stay with the big conference team.
Kent State was Saturday’s Cinderella, facing Arkansas and ace DJ Baxendale (who was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the MLB draft in the beginning of the month). Baxendale cruised through the Golden Flashes lineup before giving up a single in the 5th inning.
Kent State starter David Starn struggled with his command from the very beginning and the only thing that kept him and his team in the game was the three double plays turned while he was in the game.
Arkansas had a run in and the bases loaded before Starn induced a DP to end the first inning. Jake Wise homered with two outs in the second inning. In the 3rd inning after a leadoff single, Starn induced another DP. In the 5th inning with a run in, Starn induced another inning-ending DP.
Jimmy Rider homered off Baxendale in the 6th inning to get Kent State on the board and cut the deficit to 3-1.
However Arkansas went back to work against Starn, scoring two runs in the bottom of the 6th inning on a Matt Vinson two-run double.
Baxendale was done with two on base in the 7th inning. He allowed one run on three hits and a walk over 6.1 innings. He struck out five. Brandon Moore came in and escaped the jam and finished out the game. He allowed just one hit over 2.2 innings.
The Razorbacks made their announcement today on who the new head coach was going to be for the 2012 season and it has plently of people scratching their heads.
John L. Smith was announced as the Interim head coach, replacing Bobby Petrino after a scandal that lost him his job. The good thing for Arkansas fans is that Smith is no stranger to the program. He left the program last year to take on the position as the Weber State head coach, now only to be returning for a less-than one year stint until the Hogs find a new head guy.
Smith does have prior ‘major conference’ head coaching experience, coaching at Michigan State and Louisville. And oddly enough, being replaced by Bobby Petrino at Louisville before Petrino’s Arkansas days. Smith took the head coaching position at Weber State, also his alma mater, back in December. So he is leaving a job he never even got to start.
The move has given Arkansas’ athletic director, Jeff Long a chance to look at other potential candidates on the coaching staff throughout the season to decide on a long-term solution.
Where does this leave Weber State? And John L Smith at the end of this upcoming season? This has been a crazy off-season for the Hogs. Hopefully this temporary hire will provide some closure for some. But from what I’ve seen, its caused more raised eyebrows.
“As the coaching world turns” continues…
The Bobby Petrino Era is over in Fayetteville.
Athletic Director Jeff Long held a press conference tonight to announce the news (although it broke on twitter about an hour before the presser began).
Citing Petrino’s “pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior”, and his failure to be forthcoming about his relationship with Jessica Dorrell and the circumstances surrounding his motorcycle crash as the reasons behind the firing, Long said that he informed Petrino this afternoon that he was no longer the head coach of the Razorbacks.
While Long and Petrino did meet in person, the actual firing came via a letter, as per the terms of Petrino’s contract. Also in that contract: the grounds for his dismissal. Petrino was basically obligated not to cast the university in a negative light, and this scandal has cast a giant shadow over the program.
There were no negotiations or circumstances under which Petrino could have remained the head coach, according to Long. He will not receive a buyout.
Long gave a long list of “key facts” he discovered during his review, including Petrino knowingly misleading the Athletics Department/U of A, choosing not be forthcoming, giving Dorrell an unfair/undisclosed advantage (she was one of 1/159 applicants for the position) and $20,000(!), having a conflict of interest, and knowingly jeopardizing the Razorbacks football program.
After being in a motorcycle accident Sunday, Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino (and his family) said he was the only one on the bike when it crashed. A report released by state police today told a different story. Petrino was traveling with 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell, a former U of A volleyball player and current employee at Arkansas.
She was hired by Petrino to serve as the student-athlete development coordinator. She’s in charge of organizing the recruiting process for the football team, including initial eligibility for incoming players. The crash happened four days after her hiring.
This prompted a press conference tonight, where Athletics Director Jeff Long informed everyone that Petrino is now on indefinite paid administrative leave. He then proceeded to respond to 95 percent of the questions he was asked with some variation on, “I have to do a review of the information.” So basically, we learned nothing except Long doesn’t have all the info yet and Petrino has to stay away from Razorback football. Long is also still determining whether or not Dorrell will be punished.
Petrino released this statement to the media at tonight’s presser:
“The state police report today provides an accurate description of my accident, which includes details that had not publicly come to light prior to the report being issued. I regret that I have not publicly acknowledged a passenger on the vehicle. I have been in constant pain, medicated and the circumstances involving the wreck have come out in bits and pieces. That said I certainly had a concern about Jessica Dorrell’s name being revealed.
In my press conference, I referred to her simply as ‘a lady’. My concern was to protect my family and a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public. In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details. Today, I’ve acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration.
I apologize to my wife, Becky, and our four children, Chancellor (David) Gearhart, Jeff Long, the Board of Trustees, University administration, my coaching staff, student-athletes and the entire state of Arkansas. I have been humbled by the outpouring of concern and get-well wishes.
I apologize to the Razorback Nation for the attention my actions have brought to the University of Arkansas and our program. I will fully cooperate with the University throughout this process and my hope is to repair my relationships with my family, my Athletic Director, the Razorback Nation and remain the head coach of the Razorbacks.”
In summary: he apparently had a tryst with Dorrell, didn’t want to share that with the public, now it’s out there anyway AND he lied, but please don’t fire him, because he’s sorry.
This is obviously bad news for Bobby, and it could get worse if more info comes out. When Long was asked tonight if he believed Petrino could regain the support of Razorbacks fans, he said he thought so. If no other unsavory facts are revealed, then Petrino is probably fine. If something else is exposed, though, things could get a lot messier.