LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Word is out that Bobby Petrino is back in town.
Reports of his return to Louisville have spread across the nation and the hiring is everything but official.
Yahoo Sports columnist, Pat Forde, said this afternoon that his sources confirmed Petrino will replace Charlie Strong as the head coach of UofL football.
"From what I was told, Petrino had nine hours worth of talks with Jurich on Tuesday," Forde said.
Jurich interviewed seven candidates for the vacancy, but Forde said he believes Petrino was always the first choice for the job, despite the fact that Petrino left Louisville hanging in 2006 to go to the Atlanta Falcons.
"It is absolutely a risk and leap of faith by Tom Jurich,” Forde said. “For a guy who didn't treat Louisville all that well the first time around. He was continually looking around for other jobs.”
Then came Petrino's debacle at Arkansas, adding more fuel to the critical fire.
"There will be some PR hits for Louisville to have to negotiate, but Jurich seems like he's adamant that this is the best guy to keep Louisville at the forefront going into the ACC," said Forde.
Petrino is a coach known for his explosive offense and he racked up a 41-9 record during his first stint at Louisville form 2003 to 2006. He is also known by many to be a man with questionable morals, but when it comes to football it seems Tom Jurich is ready to trust Petrino again.
"The reward probably will be more very good coaching and a lot of wins. This is a guy with a very good track record when it comes to football," said Forde.
Stefan Lefors played for Petrino during his previous stint as UofL head coach.
"If he's the guy it will be exciting football for people to watch," Lefors said. "He wanted to set the world on fire and prove a point that he could do it and he did it. He showed that," said LeFors.
LeFors says he thinks after everything Petrino has been through, he has learned his lesson.
"At the end of the day, he's a good football coach and that's where he belongs, is on the sidelines," said LeFors.
Forde said if Petrino is hired, which seems evident, he may be inheriting a team on its way to becoming a top tier program, but he likely will not be collecting a top tier check, as Strong was.
"If Charlie Strong was making 4 million dollars a year, Petrino would be making significantly less than that 3 million or so I would guess," he said.
Forde broke the story today and he said Jurich knows the risk and the reward, but he is confident Petrino is his man--again.
"I would imagine if there's going to be a buyout it is going to be steep," said Forde.
Lefors said he believes Petrino will see that the move to the ACC gives the program a legitimate chance to compete and potentially make the playoffs in the new college football post-season format.
“I think coming back here, he will now realize that it’s special here,” he said.