Texts provide insight into Petrino exit

Published Apr. 13, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

Newly released text messages between Bobby Petrino and Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long have provided a glimpse into the disgraced football coach's final days at the university.

The messages from Petrino's university-funded cell phone were released to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as part of a Freedom of Information Act request, and show the apologetic coach appealing to Long in an effort to keep his job.

"Jeff I appreciate how you handled last night. Let me know if we need to get together again. I'm at your disposal and will do whatever it takes to keep you in my camp and remain your coach," Petrino wrote to Long on April 6, the day after he was placed on administrative leave.

Long's response, sent 35 minutes later, reportedly thanked Petrino and assured the coach he was "working through the process."

The following day, Petrino reached out to Long again, hoping to get an update on his job status.

"Hey Jeff I'm just sitting around wondering what I should be doing??" Petrino wrote. "I just want you to [know] how sorry I am that this all happened!!"

Petrino also remained in contact with senior associate athletics director Chris Wyrick in an effort to gauge Long's "mood."


In a response to Wyrick telling Petrino he would help in "any way I can," Petrino wrote, "Thank you!!! Is the mood to fire me or to keep me???"

Wyrick responded, writing, "I can't honestly speak to [Long's] pulse on that, but my gut is he wants it to work. You have done the job and most feel you are due a mulligan."

As it turned out, Long decided against giving Petrino a second chance, saying Tuesday the coach had "abused his authority" and "jeopardized the integrity of the football program" by lying about his relationship with 25-year-old assistant Jessica Dorrell.

Long said Petrino had numerous opportunities to disclose the relationship to the school and media before it was revealed that Dorrell was with him when he crashed his motorcycle April 1.

The 51-year-old coach, a married father of four, was officially dismissed for violating a morals clause in his contract.

Long said Petrino's relationship with Dorrell went on for a "significant" period of time, dating back to September 2011 according to phone records. Petrino hired Dorrell as a student-athlete development coordinator within the football program March 28, and also gave her $20,000 in cash, though the athletics director did not specify a reason for the gift.