Report: Petrino 'At The Top Of The List' At Florida As Search To Replace Meyer Begins

by Chris Bahn  on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010 8:31 am  

Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino's name has surfaced in multiple reports as a target to replace Urban Meyer at Florida. Meyer announced his resignation Wednesday evening. Petrino's name surfaced almost immediately. Petrino is in the third year of a contract that runs through 2014. (Photo by Will Flowers)

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino’s name has surfaced in multiple reports as a target to replace Urban Meyer at Florida.

Meyer announced his resignation Wednesday evening. Petrino’s name surfaced almost immediately.

Petrino, who guided the Razorbacks to a Jan. 4 Sugar Bowl, is in the third year of a contract that runs through 2014. His buyout is currently in the neighborhood of $3 million.

Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley told Sporting News that the school would not “be scared off by contract buyouts.” More from that report:

That means every coach is an option.

At the top of the list: Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, who according to a source was Foley’s No.2 option when he hired Meyer from Utah after the 2004 season – and the No.1 choice when Meyer resigned last season before returning a day later. Petrino’s contract with Arkansas has a non-compete clause for teams in the SEC West Division – but not the East Division.

If he were to leave the Hogs, his buyout is estimated to be $3.1 million. Other possibilities for the job include former Florida assistant Dan Mullen, Utah coach (and Meyer friend) Kyle Whittingham and Houston coach Kevin Sumlin.

Petrino was a finalist for the job in 2004 where Meyer was hired. He’s 64-23 as a coach and guided both Louisville and Arkansas to BCS bowls. Only Meyer, Petrino and Alabama’s Nick Saban have accomplished that feat.

Currently, Petrino is among the 10 highest paid coaches in the nation. He ranks fifth among SEC coaches and figured to be in line to rework his contract with the Razorbacks.

Arkansas, which in the process of building a $24-35 million football operations facility at Petrino's request, has declined to comment on if a contract extension is in the works for the football coach. Athletic director Jeff Long issued a statement last week and a UA spokesman referred to those quotes when asked Wednesday about Petrino’s job status.

"We are proud of the tremendous job Coach Petrino has done at the University of Arkansas. Coach Petrino is focused on preparing for our upcoming bowl game, recruiting and building on the ongoing success of the program. We are excited about the achievements and direction of Razorback Football and look forward to continued success in the years to come with Coach Petrino leading our program."

Attempts to reach Petrino for comment were unsuccessful.

 

 

Please read our comments policy before commenting.