Sports

UPDATE: University of Louisville Athletic Director Vince Tyra held a press conference Sunday to discuss the firing of football coach Bobby Petrino with two games left in the regular season. Associate coach Lorenzo Ward will serve as interim head coach through the two final games.

Tyra had originally planned to evaluate Petrino’s performance after the season was over, but became concerned when the Cards didn’t show any improvement after a week off in October:

“It moved things up, for sure, because it’s normally not my intent to do that. It was my full intent—I wasn’t trying to be misleading—to wait until the end of the year, but to use the football term, I called an audible because I didn’t like what I was reading.”

Regarding Petrino’s $14 million buyout, Tyra says some of the money will come from a contingency fund he’s established, but he’s confident the department will be back on firm financial footing. U of L paid some $7 million to settle with Tyra’s predecessor, Tom Jurich, who was fired last October, and has expenses related to an NCAA investigation of the men’s basketball program:

“I’m still comfortable that we have a revenue plan and donor base that will be supportive of building that balance sheet, building those endowments back to a place that makes me feel probably more comfortable.”

On the search for a new football coach:

“We weren’t thinking about this, we thought Bobby was going to be successful for a longer time, without a doubt, but I do have a list in mind. We’ll further vet that, I’ll spend a little more energy on it, but not certainly have any intentions to get in anybody’s way at another program until the appropriate time.”

On fan support for hiring Purdue coach and former U of L quarterback Jeff Brohm to replace Petrino:

“I hear it, I obviously know it. I know all the tie-ins that Jeff has with Louisville, I know the tie-ins that he and I have at Trinity (High School). I’ve heard it all, right? But I still….that doesn’t mean he wants to be here. It’s not even worth speculating until we get to the end of the season to think about who’s out there. But obviously, I’ve got a great opportunity to sell a great program. This isn’t a hire out of convenience, this is one we need to have who really wants to be here and is going to win here.”

12:05pm:

Louisville has fired coach Bobby Petrino with two games left in a spiraling season that includes five blowout losses in which the Cardinals allowed at least 50 points.

The school announced Petrino’s dismissal Sunday morning with statement from athletic director Vince Tyra, who said he “did not have the confidence” the coach could turn things around next season. The change “needs to start happening now.” Tyra said a new head coach would be chosen soon to “restore our football program to national prominence.”

A news conference was scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Louisville (2-8) lost 54-23 at No. 13 Syracuse on Friday night, dropping to 0-7 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Petrino departs with a 77-35 mark in two stints with Louisville.

Rick Howlett is WFPL's Broadcast Editor and also produces feature and general assignment radio stories.