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Sources: Bobby Petrino returning for second stint as Louisville's head coach

Pat Forde
Yahoo Sports

Louisville's hiring of Bobby Petrino for his second stint as its football coach is imminent, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports.

Athletic director Tom Jurich is expected to meet with Petrino's agent, David Dunn, Wednesday night to finalize contract details. The school plans to introduce Petrino Thursday. The Louisville Athletic Association's personnel committee has called a 10 a.m. ET meeting Thursday to discuss a personnel matter. The committee is expected to approve a contract for Petrino, and he will be formally introduced thereafter.

View photo

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Bobby Petrino was 8-4 with Western Kentucky in 2013. (AP)

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich interviewed seven candidates for the job, but all indications are that the Western Kentucky coach was prominent on Jurich's list from the moment Charlie Strong told him he was leaving for Texas Saturday night. Jurich requested permission from WKU athletic director Todd Stewart to speak with Petrino on Sunday. A nine-hour interview that a source described as "very intense" took place Wednesday, after multiple background checks were conducted on the controversial coach.

Western Kentucky was Petrino's landing spot after a tawdry scandal cost him his job at Arkansas in 2012. After a motorcycle accident that spring, it was discovered that Petrino was riding with his mistress, Jessica Dorrell, who he had hired for a position within the football program. When the full story came out on Petrino's personal and professional relationships with Dorrell, Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long abruptly fired Petrino, despite a 34-17 record at the school.

The Razorbacks have gone 7-17 since Petrino was fired.

Others sources say Jurich interviewed for the job include Colorado State coach Jim McElwain, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason, and Charlie Strong's two coordinators – Vance Bedford and Shawn Watson.

Petrino was coach of the Cardinals from 2003-06, compiling a 41-9 record. While winning more than 80 percent of his games, including the program's first-ever BCS bowl victory, Petrino also serially shopped for other jobs.

He famously interviewed behind Jurich's back for the Auburn job in 2003 – at first denying it, and then admitting that he met with officials from the school while it still was employing Tommy Tuberville. The next year, Petrino interviewed with LSU five days after accepting an extension and pronouncing his loyalty to Louisville. That December he also interviewed with Notre Dame and had conversations with Mississippi about its opening. And a few months after signing a lucrative new deal at Louisville in 2006, he left for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.

Despite those dalliances, many Louisville fans are welcoming their prodigal coach back with open arms. As of noon Wednesday, an online poll from The (Louisville) Courier-Journal had 40 percent of respondents favoring Petrino as the next coach of the Cardinals, with Morris a distant second place at 14 percent.

 

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