Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino has been fired effective immediately, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Petrino was terminated Sunday morning and will not coach the rest of the season. The Cardinals are 2-8, have lost seven in a row and are winless in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Lorenzo Ward will be the interim coach, sources said.
Petrino has a large buyout, estimated to be in the $14 million range. But the fanbase has bailed on Petrino and set its sights on hometown hero Jeff Brohm, currently the coach at Purdue. Brohm is a University of Louisville graduate and was a former star quarterback there in the 1990s.
Petrino, once considered one of the offensive innovators in the sport, has struggled badly since 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson left after last season. The Cardinals’ offensive struggles have been compounded by a defensive collapse late in the season. Louisville has surrendered more than 50 points five times, including three games in a row.
Petrino’s second Louisville tenure was nowhere near as successful as his first, which spanned from 2003-06 and produced a 41-9 record. During this five-year tenure, Petrino had a 36-26 record, 21-11 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but the Cardinals have only won four of their last 15 conference games.
Brohm is 5-5 in his second season at Purdue after going 7-6 last year. The school had five straight losing seasons before he arrived and hadn’t won a bowl game since 2011. A former quarterback with a gift for creative play-calling, Brohm could be in demand at more schools than Louisville.
Other coaches who may be interested in the job, or of interest to Louisville, include: Syracuse head coach Dino Babers, Ohio State offensive coordinator Ryan Day, Troy coach Neal Brown (a Kentucky native), Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell and North Texas coach Seth Littrell.
The school also dismissed the three members of Petrino’s family on staff, a source told Yahoo Sports. Bobby Petrino’s son, Nick Petrino, and son-in-laws L.D. Scott and Ryan Beard were also let go Sunday. Nick Petrino coached quarterbacks, Scott coached the defensive line and Beard the linebackers. Those three assistant coaches combined for a total of $650,000 in salary despite modest qualifications at the ACC level. Andy Wagner, the director of football operations, also got dismissed Sunday, a source said.
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