Bobby Petrino will return to Arkansas as the program's offensive coordinator, the school announced. Petrino coached the Razorbacks from 2008-11 and spent the 2023 season as offensive coordinator at Texas A&M after a few years at Missouri State.
Petrino went 34-17 in his career with the Razorbacks, finishing the 2011 season No. 5 in the final AP Top 25 poll, with two BCS bowl bids. His career at Arkansas came to a screeching halt in April 2012 when he was let go amid accusations of an inappropriate relationship with a female staffer.
Arkansas fired OC Dan Enos in November with the Hogs failing to find consistency and keep quarterback KJ Jefferson upright during his tenure. As it so happens, Jefferson is . Kenny Guiton took over on an interim basis over the final four games. The Razorbacks finished the year 2-2 with blowout losses to Auburn and Missouri.
Personnel changes of all sorts are expected this time of year, so getting ahead of the transfer portal window is a priority for the Razorbacks.
"Obviously with the kids that we have that are committed, you want to be right, but you also want to be as fast as you possibly can," coach Sam Pittman said this week. "You'd like to get some guys in here maybe Tuesday and Wednesday so they can talk to the kids before we need to go out on the road. I don't know if that's possible or not, but obviously we've been in conversations with several different people."
Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek announced on November 19 that Pittman will return in 2024 despite the 4-8 record.
"This has not been the season any of us anticipated,". "We have work to do. I am confident that together, we can meet the goals and expectations of our program. I want to thank the many Razorbacks fans who have supported our team this season."
Petrino spent last season on Jimbo Fisher's staff at Texas A&M. The Aggies struggled offensively, finishing the regular season at just 403.8 yards per game and 5.89 yards per play. However, they were also riddled with injuries including the loss of their top two quarterbacks -- Conner Weigman and Max Johnson.
Petrino's unceremonious exit
Petrino followed longtime coach Houston Nutt, whose tenure ended in a spiral, in 2008. Petrino shook off a 5-7 debut in 2008 and made a bowl in Year 2. Things took off from there. Arkansas won 10 games in 2010 and followed that with a top-five finish in the AP poll in 2011 -- their highest in 30 years.
But in April 2012 came Petrino's infamous motorcycle accident. Arkansas released a statement that no other individuals were involved, a sentiment that Petrino echoed on an April 3 press conference; however, he was placed on administrative leave on April 5. The next day, Arkansas State Police confirmed that Jessica Dorrell, a former Arkansas volleyball player who was hired as the football program's student athlete development coordinator, was on the motorcycle with Petrino at the time of the crash.
Petrino released a statement admitting to an adulterous relationship with Dorrell. He was fired with cause on April 10.
"He made the decision, a conscious decision, to mislead the public on Tuesday, and in doing so negatively and adversely affected the reputation of the University of Arkansas and our football program," Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said at the time. "In short, coach Petrino engaged in a pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior designed to deceive me and members of the athletic staff, both before and after the motorcycle accident."
Petrino was hired at Western Kentucky in 2012 and spent one season with the Hilltoppers before making his return to Louisville.