LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – University of Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino has had a long and close relationship with athletic director Tom Jurich.

It was Jurich who was there through some awkward career missteps before Petrino left Louisville for the first time, to go to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. It was Jurich who was there when Petrino’s career ran off the tracks in Arkansas, and Jurich who talked to him and recommended him to Western Kentucky University a season after that incident took place. And, of course, it was Jurich who brought him back to Louisville, and who has been the biggest proponent of "Bobby 2.0."

So it wasn’t just Petrino's boss who was put on paid administrative leave last Wednesday, it was someone he’s known and grown with for more than 15 years.

“I can’t say enough about what he’s meant to me and my family,” Petrino said when asked about Jurich after Saturday’s 55-10 win over Murray State in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. “Besides being my boss, he’s my real close friend. So we’re hoping he’ll be back.”

Petrino said he hasn’t shared that desire with anyone at the university.

The distraction of Tuesday’s bombshell basketball news was felt in the football complex, but Petrino said his team did a good job of putting it aside.

“We always talk about find a release, come in the building, get with your teammates, get ready for practice,” Petrino said. “It gets you away from all of it. I thought our guys did a good job of all that. We tried to communicate, talk to them every day.

As for his own future at Louisville if Jurich doesn’t return, Petrino wouldn’t comment. The buyout in his contract is cut in half if Jurich ceases to be athletic director for any reason.

“I haven’t thought anything about that at all,” Petrino said. “All I’m focused on is our football team. I love our football team, I love the university, I love the city of Louisville. We’ve made plans to stay here and spend the rest of our career here, so right now what we’ve got to do is get ready for this game (at N.C. State) on Thursday night.”

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