Last week we announced Bobby Petrino as our new head football coach.
Bobby previously served as head coach at the University of Arkansas, Western Kentucky University and University of Louisville. He has a career record of 119-56 in 14 seasons. He directed college teams to 11 bowl games and six AP top-25 finishes. He also coached Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. He is considered one of the best offensive coaches in the history of the sport.
A successful football program is important to the profile of a major public university. It also connects the university to its community. The Board of Governors and I believed we needed to make a bold hire that had a real opportunity to change the trajectory of a program which has struggled for almost three decades.
Compliance with NCAA rules and graduation rates of student athletes are equally important to success on the field. Coach Petrino has a strong record in this area as well.
Eight years ago, Coach Petrino made a series of poor decisions that resulted in his dismissal from the University of Arkansas. He has learned from that experience and people who have known him a long time say he is a changed man. He acknowledges these decisions were his responsibility, has apologized to the state of Arkansas for his failures and worked to heal the hurt within his family.
The Bears season begins with a road game at the University of Oklahoma on Sept. 5 followed by our home opener on Sept. 12 against the University of Montana.
I hope you are as excited as I am about the future of the Bears football program and will welcome Bobby and Becky Petrino to the Missouri State University family!
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!