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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Calling it a "landmark moment," Western Kentucky University Athletic Director Todd Stewart announced Monday that the university has named Bobby Petrino as its new head football coach.
Petrino said Monday his goal is to compete in a BCS bowl game. "I believe in competing and succeeding on the football field," Petrino said.
WDRB's Eric Crawford tells us Petrino has a four-year deal, $850,000 per year, with a buyout of $1.2 million if he leaves before the contract is up.
When asked whether WKU might only be a stepping stone to another program, he responded, "It's really about getting back and coaching the players...this is a family decision. This is something that happened to open up in a place that we love." He added that there are elements in his contract that show that he's committed to WKU.
Earlier, as the University of Louisville's football coach, he was criticized for pursuing other jobs even as he asked U of L for contract extensions.
Petrino had a 34-17 record at Arkansas, but was fired in April for what was called a "pattern of misleading" behavior. That was after a motorcycle crash in which Petrino said at first he was the only person on the motorcycle. Later, he admitted former Razorback football staffer Jessica Dorrell was with him. It was also revealed that Petrino was having an affair with Dorrell, and that he had given her $20,000 in gifts.
Petrino says he's been in counseling since then, and has been rebuilding his relationship with his wife and children. Stewart said he's spoken extensively with Petrino about his actions and that he's convinced Petrino has taken responsibility for them and has learned from them.
Petrino says he will set high expectations for the football program: "You reach for the rainbow," he said. He said he would be meeting with recruits this week. He says he expects to play UK and U of L as part of the process of building the team.
Petrino replaces Willie Taggart, who left to become the coach at South Florida.