Bobby Petrino says he’s learned from his mistakes and wants to finish his football coaching career at the University of Louisville.
Petrino was introduced Thursday as the Cards’ new coach.
“I want everyone here to know this is my destination job. I can’t wait to get started,” he said.
Petrino, 52, is back in the place where he began his head coaching career in 2003, eventually leading the Cardinals to an Orange Bowl victory.
It’s also where there is some lingering bitterness because he bolted for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons after four seasons.
He left that job for the University of Arkansas, where he was fired after lying about an extramarital affair. After a year out of coaching, Petrino was hired by Western Kentucky last season, leading the Hilltoppers to an 8-4 record.
Petrino says he regrets leaving Louisville but knows he’ll have to prove by his actions that he’s a changed person.
“I always have a sign in our locker room that says “it’s a show-me world,” so it’s up to me to show it. Emotionally, I am completely tied to finishing my career here,” he said at his introductory press conference.
Petrino’s contract that will pay him $3.5 million annually for seven years includes a $10 million buyout clause.
U of L athletic director Tom Jurich says Petrino’s nine-hour interview included some tough questions.
“(I said) ‘Do you have enough courage to look me in the eye and tell me you’ve changed? If you lie to me, I’m going to kill you.’ He said ‘I’m a changed man, there’s no doubt.’ And there’s no doubt,” Jurich said.
Jurich said he was still angry at Petrino for leaving the Cardinals program for Atlanta, even though he followed protocol.
Petrino replaces Charlie Strong, who became the coach of Texas Longhorns last weekend.