Bobby Petrino, fired at Arkansas after a scandal involving a young female employee, is interested in returning to coaching at Kentucky, where Joker Phillips was fired on Sunday, according to Bobby Pertrino Sr.
“I just know this, that he’s interested in Kentucky,” Petrino Sr. told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Wednesday. “He wants to stay in the SEC. That was his life’s goal was to go to the SEC.”
But Yahoo Sports! reported Sunday that the Wildcats – currently 1-9 overall and 0-8 in SEC play – do not have any interest in Petrino.
Petrino was fired in April after lying about a motorcycle accident, which later revealed an affair he was having with a 25-year-old woman who worked for him. He forfeited $21 million in potential earnings.
“You know, he made mistakes,” Petrino Sr. said to the newspaper, “but he couldn’t have gone through any punishment worse than losing his job. He’s missed coaching tremendously.”
Petrino led Kentucky rival Louisville to a record of 41-9 in his four years there as coach before taking off to coach the Atlanta Falcons. With three games left in the 2007 season, Petrino resigned by leaving notes in his players’ lockers and headed off to coach the Razorbacks. The Falcons finished with a 4-12 record that season.
Petrino is an offensive-minded coach and his Razorbacks were in the top three in that category in the SEC in each of the past three years. While at Louisville, his offense finished in the top 10 in the nation for four consecutive seasons.
Meanwhile, Kentucky suffered its worst loss to Vanderbilt in 96 years Saturday, 40-0. Kentucky’s offense has been outscored 73-10 in the last two games.
Phillips, who has an overall record of 12-23 in three years with the Wildcats, said: “I understand this. We didn’t get the necessary results. I understand that. . . I’m not bitter by any means, I appreciate the opportunity.”
Petrino, apparently is not on Kentucky’s early list of candidates that include Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes among others.