Bobby Petrino On Leave After More Details Of Crash Emerge
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long placed Bobby Petrino the head football coach on paid leave pending a review, saying he was disappointed Petrino failed to tell school officials that he was riding with a 25-year-old woman when he crashed his motorcycle.
“I don’t know what I’m going to find,” Long said at a news conference, hours after a state police report revealed that the married, 51-year-old was riding Sunday with Jessica Dorrell, a former Arkansas volleyball player who now works for the football program, and he told a passer-by not to call 911, then got a ride back to Fayetteville where the Arkansas football coach was met by a state trooper who provides his personal security during the season.
“I am disappointed that coach Petrino did not share with me, when he had the opportunity to, the full extent of the accident and who was involved,” Long said.
Petrino broke four ribs and cracked a neck vertebra in the crash, which he blamed on the wind and having the sun in his eyes. He was forthcoming with police, but failed to tell school administrators or reporters at a news conference on Tuesday about his passenger.
“My concern was to protect my family and a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public,” Petrino said in a statement released by the school. “In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details.”
Long set no timetable for his investigation, which could conclude with penalties including suspension or firing for the highly successful coach. Long said he didn’t hear about Dorrell being on the motorcycle until Petrino called him minutes before a police report was released disclosing it.
Dorrell was hired March 28 by Petrino as the student-athlete development coordinator after serving as a fundraiser with the Razorback Foundation. She is in charge of organizing the recruiting process for the football team, including initial eligibility for each incoming player.
Long said he had not decided whether to suspend Dorrell.
Petrino, who is married with four children, didn’t mention he had a passenger during a news conference two days after Sunday’s accident, and a school statement that day quoted Petrino’s family as saying “no other individuals” were involved. Petrino said then that he had spent Sunday with his wife, Becky, at a lake and was going for an evening ride. His only mention of Dorrell was vague, and without identification.
“When I came out of the ditch, there was a lady there that had flagged down a car,” Petrino said Tuesday. “The guy that was in the passenger’s seat said, `Get in, we’ll just take you right to the hospital instead of waiting,’ and so I got in the car and they headed toward Fayetteville.”
Petrino apologized and acknowledged that he had kept quiet about Dorrell.
“I have been in constant pain, medicated and the circumstances involving the wreck have come out in bits and pieces. That said, I certainly had a concern about Jessica Dorrell’s name being revealed,” he said.
“Today, I’ve acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration.”
Petrino was taken to a Fayetteville intersection by another passer-by. There, Dorrell left in her own car while Petrino was met by Capt. Lance King, his personal security guard during the season. King took Petrino to a hospital, where he was treated for broken ribs and a cracked neck vertebra.
State police said they planned to question the trooper, looking for “any information Captain King may have learned about the crash” during conversations with Petrino.
Assistant head coach and linebackers coach Taver Johnson has been put in charge of the program in Petrino’s absence. The former Ohio State assistant coach was hired in January.