For a brief moment last night, Missouri State found itself at the center of the college football universe, with one of the weirder sets of reported candidates ever. For a while, different reports had the FCS program hiring Art Briles and Bobby Petrino.
Both Briles and Petrino are scandal ridden, and neither seemed particularly hirable, though at very different levels. Petrino is not a popular figure, but he would still be at Louisville if the program wasn’t run directly into the ground during the 2018 season.
With the scandal that erupted under his leadership at Baylor, Briles has not landed a job since. It should stay that way.
Ultimately, the Briles report was wrong. The Bears did go through with hiring Bobby Petrino though, which is still pretty controversial in its own right. WDRB‘s Rick Bozich, who covered Petrino during his two stints at Louisville, broke down some factors that went into the hire.
Basically, Missouri State is very desperate, and athletic director Kyle Moats was an assistant AD at Louisville at the end of Petrino’s first, much more successful, tenure with the Cardinals.
“‘As far as Division I (FBS programs), he was blocked,’ said a source with knowledge of the situation.
“Another source told me that a pair of Conference USA programs — Old Dominion and UT-San Antonio — passed on Petrino for their head coaching openings, too.
“On Wednesday Petrino, once an NFL head coach and winner of the Orange Bowl at Louisville, discovered what kind of job he could land — the head position at Missouri State.
“Missouri State won 1 of 11 games last season.
“Missouri State has endured 10 consecutive losing seasons.
“Missouri State averaged 6,450 fans for five home games this season while playing in its 17,500-seat stadium.
“Missouri State lost to Tulane, 58-6, and the Bears also lost to Indiana State by four touchdowns.
“Missouri State, which has an athletic department led by Kyle Moats, whose tenure as an assistant athletic director at Louisville (2005-09) overlapped with the final two seasons of Petrino’s first coaching stop at U of L.”
Bozich reports that Missouri State did not call Louisville to inquire about the issues that led to the program’s collapse in 2018, or how quickly Scott Satterfield was able to rebound from it this fall. He calls the hire a “Hail Mary.”
As we know, those throws are occasionally successful, but far more often they fall short or are batted away with relative ease.