Johnson, the former head coach of the Miami Hurricanes, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins, told Gino Torretta and Jack Arute on their Sirius XM radio show:
“Some people might laugh but I’m serious about it. If they want an outstanding coach they ought to bring back Petrino or hire Butch Davis. And people say, ‘Well how in the world can you bring back Petrino?’ I said, ‘Listen, you forgave Bill Clinton.’ Forgive the man. Forgive the man for making a bad decision. Give him an opportunity to coach again.
“I mean he wants to get back into coaching and he’s a great coach and he made a mistake. This whole country, it’s built on forgiving people and giving them second chances. And I think the fan base would love to bring him back. But if they don’t bring him back? But you know, Butch Davis, give him an opportunity. …”
Davis is another former Hurricane coach who was fired by the University of North Carolina amid an NCAA investigation into the Tar Heel football program. Davis was not directly linked to any of the violations that occurred.
Petrino, on the other hand, was linked to wrongdoing — albeit off the field. He was fired in April after a motorcycle wreck involving a woman with whom he admitted having an affair. Arkansas currently has an interim coach, John L. Smith.
On Wednesday, Petrino’s father told the Louisville Courier-Journal that his son was interested in the head coaching job at Kentucky, which announced last week the firing of Joker Phillips.
“I just know this, that he’s interested in Kentucky,” Bobby Petrino Sr. told the newspaper. “He wants to stay in the SEC. That was his life’s goal was to go to the SEC.”
“You know, he made mistakes,” Petrino Sr. said, “but he couldn’t have gone through any punishment worse than losing his job. He’s missed coaching tremendously.”
While it seems unlikely Petrino will return to Arkansas, he’ll undoubtedly be hired by someone at some point. In addition to Kentucky, fans on message boards at Tennessee, Auburn and even Georgia Tech have expressed support for hiring him. What program do you think is the best fit for Petrino?