Paul Petrino has been hired as the head football coach at the University of Idaho.
Petrino spent the 2012 season with the Arkansas Razorbacks after two years as offensive coordinator at Illinois, where he left when Ron Zook was ousted after the 2011 season.
Petrino is a native of Butte, Mont., and was raised in Helena. He was a two-time All-American quarterback at Carroll College, where he played from 1985-88.
"I'm very excited," Petrino said. "It's a dream come true. I've wanted to be a head coach my whole life. I had a chance to come back out to the Northwest."
Idaho finished the 2012 season with a 1-11 overall record and a 1-6 mark in the WAC. It fired coach Robb Akey in October and named offensive coordinator Jason Gesser as interim coach when the Vandals were 1-7.
With the Western Athletic Conference disbanding in football, Idaho is planning to compete in FBS next season as an independent.
"Paul has coached college football at the highest level and brings the coaching experience, energy, toughness and commitment to developing the entire student-athlete at the University of Idaho," Idaho Director of Athletics Rob Spear said. "He has an outstanding coaching pedigree and is known as one of most creative offensive minds in the country, which will bring an exciting brand of football to the University of Idaho."
Petrino, the brother of former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, was an assistant at Idaho from 1992 to 1994. He has also spent time at Utah State, Louisville, Illinois and Southern Mississippi.
"I look forward to getting back, getting the Vandal Family all excited and fired up," Paul Petrino said. "We want to score a whole bunch of points, be explosive on offense and hit that quarterback on defense. We want to win a whole bunch of games and go to bowls."