Every single one of us at some point will experience failure in our lives. Many of these will be due directly to the decisions we make. For every success we celebrate, there will be a closet full of educational failures that have preceded it. We can choose to submit to shortcomings or we can learn from them, move on, and use the experience to make a better decision going forward. Some must fall on their face multiple times to finally learn the lesson. I begin by saying this because I would like to offer my personal opinion on the decision of Tom Jurich and Dr. James Ramsey to hire Bobby Petrino as the University of Louisville’s football coach.
We are all familiar with the story of Bobby Petrino and his direct correlation to UofL and other programs both at the collegiate level and professional. Every media outlet from print, radio, and internet has thoroughly discussed them and can offer overwhelming evidence to support their opinion of the radioactive personality he has earned. Many, if not all, are also completely justified. How many outlets have played the Devil’s Advocate? I will not attempt to justify or defend anything Bobby Petrino has done, but I will absolutely defend the decision to yet again allow a person another opportunity.
The popular opinion is that the University of Louisville hired Petrino based on wins and losses and his gifted genius as a football coach. I do not reject that opinion entirely; however I believe that the decision was more carefully made than just by looking at on field results. Tom Jurich is a man who values loyalty and leads by example in it. I cannot think of a single figure in the history of UofL that has shown more loyalty to his employer, employees, family, friends and fans than Tom Jurich. Leaders lead by example, and teachers teach by demonstration. We are all fully aware that college sports are a business. What gets lost in this reality is that college also offers an education.
The decision to bring Petrino back to Louisville in my opinion was at least twofold. Yes he will win. There is no question about that. I also believe that bringing Petrino back allows him to learn the value of loyalty. That which to date he has yet to publicly display. What better place to finally learn and what better examples have been set than by the people who are here? I believe that Petrino knows full well that all eyes are on him and the vultures are circling in case of another failure. Some of those waiting with baited breath reside in our very own fan base. I was one of them. Let’s face reality for a moment. Charlie Strong is a very tough act to follow. It’s easy for me to say that in the 4 years Charlie was here, he was my all-time favorite. He did and said all the right things, he won, and he saved the program when it was down. In the end, we discovered that his loyalty was not exactly where we thought it was.
I’m not going to make the case that Strong and Petrino have acted similarly because it’s not even close. Charlie Strong built equity in trust and success and he cashed a portion of those chips in for what he ultimately decided was the best decision for his career and family. Petrino crapped out at that table long ago and has since gambled high stakes to get back in a position of leverage. It’s safe to say that this most recent opportunity for Petrino will be his last regardless of how things go. It is unlikely that anyone else will take that chance on him. Tom Jurich and Dr. Ramsey are the last takers.
Will Bobby Petrino squander his final chance as a coach, or will he embrace the opportunity and finally learn the value of loyalty? Honestly, last week I was fairly certain that his hiring was a mistake. After having thought about the situation for a few days, I don’t believe it is anymore. Maybe I’m naïve. Maybe I’m just a fan who is trying to will good things to happen, or maybe I am also willing to give Bobby Petrino another chance myself in hopes that he finally gets it. We may regret the decision in the future, or we may look back years from now past the statue of Tom Jurich and understand that the vision he had for the University of Louisville was absolutely brilliant with this latest decision as evidence.
Am I the only Louisville fan who has faith in Bobby to finally prove himself loyal?
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