Bobby Petrino Louisville coach

Eric Crawford photo, September, 2018.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bobby Petrino resurfaced in a public way for the first time since his firing by the University of Louisville on Monday in a discussion for the Arkansas Quarterback Club in Little Rock.

The former coach admitted to some butterflies before the appearance, saying it felt a “little like a game day,” before coming to speak. Still, he said, he had a reason for accepting the invitation.

“I wanted to be able to come here and apologize to everybody, the fans, the players, and truly tell you how sorry I am for the way it ended,” he told the crowd. “But I also wanted to come here to thank you for everything that people in this room and in this state do for me and my family. They are great to us.”

The line drew an ovation from the crowd.

Louisville fans looking for insight into what happened during last year’s 2-10 debacle were disappointed. The conversation didn’t steer toward Louisville, except for a brief mention of Lamar Jackson.

Petrino did, however, talk about his future – both immediate and long term. He said he has opened a couple of HotWorx infrared fitness studios in Colorado with his youngest son, Bobby, running them.

“I actually like it because of the sweat and the workout, but it really helped your joints, because it helped my hip pain,” he said. “So we decided to do that, and Bobby will do a good job with that.”

But that’s not all.

“I am in the process of writing a book about offense with a guy out in St. Louis that I helped him get his doctorate degree,” Petrino said. “He did a little study on our team. We’ll see how that comes out. It’s a lot more work than I thought it would be. I thought it would be easy, just record things and then write it up, but it’s a lot harder than I thought. We’ll see how that comes out.”

Other than that, there’s little question that Petrino is awaiting another football opportunity. He received $14 million from U of L in a buyout, but the desire to return to the game is strong.

“I’ve always felt that football was a way of life for me, not a job,” he said. “So I do miss it. I miss being around players and trying to help players excel and being the best they can possibly be, on the field and off the field. Understanding their responsibilities in the classroom and getting their degree and them understanding how much that really means and how much it can help them when football is over with. That’s one thing college players need to understand is that it ends at some point.”

College coaches, it could be said, need to understand that too.

Petrino gave the crowd some red meat when he said that he felt like Arkansas football could come back from its current struggles. But he said that game days are difficult and left them with this.

“Saturdays are a little boring right now,” he said. “The competitive spirit is still there. I’m trying to get myself in the best possible shape I can, and if I get another opportunity to coach, I’m going to come out and do the best I can.”

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