A motorcycle wreck did more than bruise Bobby Petrino's body and ego, eventually leading to his dismissal at Arkansas
Regardless of who you plan to vote for this year, the 2005 hot mic recording of Donald Trump’s lewd comments released last week made us all cringe. We do and should expect more of our lawmakers, much like we do our college football programs.
However, we are often disappointed on both fronts, especially when the sleazy behavior distracts from the greater good. In college football, that greater good is building a strong program that competes every year. When coaches run their programs like a frat house, a scandal can ensue. Here are the four that came to mind after last week. (Note: You will not see assaults of any kind on this list because I only focused on naughty behavior and not crimes.)
4. Houston Coach John Jenkins Splices Porn into Game Film (1990-92)
Going into the 1990s, Houston’s run-and-shoot offense scorched teams with its then-unconventional passing attack. Equally eccentric was its head coach John Jenkins, who wore cowboy boots with fake goldfish in the heels. It also was discovered that Jenkins liked to splice pornography clips into game film. To be fair, many programs used to edit clips of scantily clad women into game film to keep players’ attention in early morning film sessions. Jenkins just pushed it to the limit, as he did with every other aspect of Houston’s program. After going 4-7 in 1991 and ‘92 and facing many allegations, including said one, Jenkins resigned. Nowadays, coaches just turn the temperature down 10 degrees to keep their players’ attention in the film room.
3. Houston Nutt’s Texts (2006-07)
Thomas McAfee would not exactly be considered Woodward and Bernstein, but a message board post in December 2006 that caught his eye led to the end of Houston Nutt’s tenure at Arkansas. After seeing a post of a nasty email from booster and Nutt family friend, Teresa Prewitt, to Razorback quarterback Mitch Mustain, his eyebrows raised. When Mustain transferred to USC in January 2007, McAfee decided to find out if Nutt knew about the email to his player. He filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and… well, never mind that email Prewitt sent. McAfee found that Nutt had sent 2,104 text messages to local television news anchor Donna Bragg over a four-month period. McAfee then turned the information over to the Arkansas Board of Trustees, which conducted its own investigation. More and more FOIA requests were filed, creating a swirl of controversy, and Nutt resigned at the end of the 2007 season.
2. Bobby Petrino’s Motorcycle Wreck (2012)
Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous. Riding a motorcycle with your mistress whom you improperly gave a job can nearly kill your career. After Nutt resigned in 2007, Arkansas hired then-Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino to replace him. Petrino installed a wide-open passing attack that seemed poised to contend for the national title in 2012. Then in April of that year, Petrino had a motorcycle wreck outside of Crosses, Ark., and it was later revealed that he was not riding alone. His passenger was Jessica Dorrell, a former All-SEC Razorback volleyball player that Petrino was having an affair with. To compound the matter, Petrino had hired Dorrell on the football staff and not disclosed his relationship with her. Arkansas athletic director (AD) Jeff Long quickly fired Petrino, who returned to Louisville after a one-year stop at Western Kentucky.
1. Mike Price’s Trip to Florida (2003)
This story seems tamer and tamer as time goes on, but still tops the list because of the publicity it received and the fact the Mike Price never coached a game at Alabama because of it. After Dennis Franchione surprised Alabama by leaving for Texas A&M at the end of a 10-3 season in 2002, Alabama hired Price. The former Washington State coach’s five months in Tuscaloosa included a reprimand for being seen out drinking into the early morning hours, but everything came to a head in April 2003. Price went to Pensacola for a golf tournament where he was seen at a strip club that ultimately resulted in a bawdy Sports Illustrated article (Price later sued SI and the lawsuit was settled.). Alabama President Robert Witt rescinded Price’s contract and hired Mike Shula. Price went to UTEP, where he and his family were beloved, and coached for nine seasons.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)