“I said, If you lie to me, I’ll kill you.”

I find myself fascinated by the pundit class’ reaction to the Petrino hire, particularly the lesson we’re supposed to take from it.  Here’s Andy Staples, in a piece titled “Louisville hired Bobby Petrino to win, not because he’s changed”, for example:

All Jurich needed to say on Thursday was this: “This is a results-oriented business, and Bobby Petrino, more often than not, achieves the desired result. I didn’t hire him to be a good husband or to tell the truth. I didn’t hire him to graduate players or to mold men. I hired him to win football games. If he does that, he’ll probably leave for a better job even though we wrote a $10 million buyout into his contract. If he doesn’t do that, I’ll fire him.”

This is what every athletic director should say when he hires a coach, because it’s the truth. All that mess about integrity and graduation rates that ADs and presidents spout when they hire a coach? They never seem to mention any of it when they fire them after consecutive 5-7 seasons.

Andy’s piece is better thought out than most I’ve read, but I still find this whole “it’s proof that college football is about winning” reasoning a bit pat.  All ADs hire head coaches because they want to win, don’t they?   (If they didn’t, eventually they’d become former ADs.)  And even questioning whether Petrino’s moral compass is finally pointing true north doesn’t really fill in all the gaps. You can find plenty of examples of questionable college hires before this one – hell, just go back more than one stop on Petrino’s resume, or, closer to home, Georgia’s hire of Jim Harrick.

No, I think what really gets me about this is the underlying quick fix nature of the hire.  Implicit in Staples’ reasoning is that nobody, including the guy who just hired him – excuse me, rehired him – will be surprised in the slightest if a rehabilitated Petrino scoots for greener pastures.  Again.  (I use the word “rehabilitated” only in the loosest, on the field sense.)

Louisville is one of college football’s better off programs.  It’s now a member of a major conference.  It’s paying big bucks to its big program coaches.  And taking a risk on a guy who’s perceived in all corners as an even bet to leave after three or so years if things break right for him is the best Tom Jurich can do?  Staples says Jurich is one of the sharpest ADs in the country.  What in the world does that say about the rest of his peers?


UPDATE:  Also, some lies matter more than others if you want to be a college football coach.


Filed under Fall and Rise of Bobby Petrino

3 responses to ““I said, If you lie to me, I’ll kill you.”

  1. Scorpio Jones, III

    By this measure, Joe Paterno would still be coaching, even at Penn State had he not had the good sense to die.

    All Jurich is doing is reinforcing the idea the system and even the game is corrupt at its core.

    I find all this very depressing. I just hope Mark Richt will continue to put up with us till I am too old to care…


  2. Willin

    Heard a rumor that Lousiville was talking to Grantham. No idea if it’s true or not though.


  3. NoAxeToGrind

    Money makes the world go round, the world go round, the world go round……etc.,etc.,etc.