Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
Or perhaps you should ask people in Montana, Louisville or Atlanta — all past way stations on the career path of the Razorbacks' admittedly excellent football coach.
Excellent person? You'll find some dissenters. (I know. We only ask football coaches to win, not to be nice guys.) A nationally prominent journalist wrote me Thursday when I began posting news about Petrino's serial dishonesty and the personal impropriety involving recently hired staffer Jessica Dorrell, 25, that broke into public view this week thanks to his motorcycle crash. His comment:
I feel for my Arkie friends Max, as I went through a version of this when he was at Louisville, which is my hometown.
You have to give the guy credit for consistency. He’s lied in public at every job he’s ever had.
Don't take my friend's word for it. You'll find comments along those lines in today's New York Times, an official indication that the personal story line about the Hog coach is to be forever burned into his permanent national record. It, thus, has to be part of the record UA Athletic Director Jeff Long considers as he decides an appropriate response to the revelations. Does he merely punish Petrino financially with a reduction in pay and/or benefits and an embarrassing suspension, as the Arkansas corporate class that supports The Program thinks is the appropriate outcome? Or will he decide the risk is too great of a reappearance of the leopard's indelible spots?
Anyway, read the Times about Petrino's current dilemma.
“That’s karma,” the former N.F.L. safety Lawyer Milloy, who played for Petrino in Atlanta, said Friday. Milloy added, “Just because he knows X’s and O’s doesn’t mean he’s a nice person.”
That sentiment has followed Petrino for much of his career.
It goes on to recount well-known causes of unhappiness in Louisville and Atlanta as Petrino clawed his way up the coaching ladder, but also includes some lesser-known stuff, such as his unwillingness to let a player miss practice in Louisville to serve as pallbearer at a funeral.
One final Petrino thought this morning:
Shades of Houston Dale Nutt, but it's time to check the public cell phone records of Petrino, Dorrell and key members of the athletic structure for reconstruction of events, particularly conversations in the aftermath of last Sunday's wreck. My FOI has been filed.
PS — I see the mother of one of the people who ferried an injured Petrino to a rendezvous with his personal state cop after the accident Sunday (Dorrell left the scene at the dropoff point) told the Democrat-Gazette that neither Petrino nor anyone at UA asked them to remain silent about the fact that Petrino had a female companion in the car with them. Speaking for her son, Molly Lewis said he merely was trying to avoid heaping more problems on Petrino in addition to his cracked bones. (Why, now, would the young man assume it would cause any problem to say Petrino had a co-worker with him?) A key question was NOT answered: Did State Police Capt. Lance King, who's Petrino's sideline wingman during football games, ask anyone in the car to keep quiet? Cops are famously influential with the folks who must travel the remote roads of the Ozarks and encounter patrolling officers on occasion. What happens on those roads tends to stay on those roads, some hillbilly friends say.
PPS — A reader says he saw on KFSM last night a report not reflected on the station website that also quotes the mother as saying while Petrino had not been in touch with the family, he had sent an "officer" to their house to thank them on his behalf. Anybody else see this or have a link to specifics?
UPDATE: Here's the KFSM link. Can we add to our list of must-dos getting the Arkansas State Police to explain why it supplies a private and very helpful security staff/manservant to the University of Arkansas football coach. Lance King has some 'splainin' to do.
ALSO: Pretty good discussion underway on our Facebook page on this Petrino item. Emerging themes there and in my mail this morning:
* Being a nice guy isn't part of the football coach job description.
* Lying to cover up sexual infidelity is not a fireable offenese.
* What exactly was Petrino referring to in his ambiguous statement? An affair with Dorrell? Or a past affair that caused him heartburn at home and thus a desire not to give his wife cause for further heartburn were she to learn about a Sunday joyride with a young assistant, innocent or not?
* The critical issue from the Jeff Long point of view is the relationship with a publicly paid subordinate.
* University handling of similar episodes in other departments should be considered in what Long decides.
* Bill Clinton did it, too. (You've heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? In Arkansas, everything — at least for bitter, diehard Republican wingnuts — is One Degree of Bill Clinton.)
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