- Mark Schlabach, ESPN Senior Writer
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If only Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long had left a laminated pink slip taped to football coach Bobby Petrino's office door.
Or on his mangled Harley-Davidson.
Petrino, who guided the Razorbacks to a 21-5 record the past two seasons and their first BCS bowl game, was fired Tuesday, after Long realized what most of us already knew about his former football coach -- he bends the truth like Bubba Watson bends golf shots.
Long informed Petrino of his dismissal via letter -- which has to sit well with the Atlanta Falcons -- and he was fired with cause, meaning Arkansas doesn't intend to pay him anything after he exercised "manipulating and deceiving behavior," Long said at a news conference Tuesday night.
Petrino was dumped nine days after he wrecked his motorcycle during a Sunday joy ride on April 1. Petrino made Long the April's fool, initially failing to tell his boss that there was a female passenger on the back of his Harley-Davidson. If Petrino's cover up had ended there, he might have survived an embarrassing extramarital affair, at least professionally.
But the woman on the back of Petrino's motorcycle, Jessica Dorrell, was an Arkansas athletics department employee. Until a couple of weeks ago, Dorrell worked as a fundraiser for the Razorbacks, raising money for athletic scholarships and facilities. But then Petrino hired Dorrell, a 25-year-old former Arkansas volleyball player, as his football program's student-athlete development coordinator on March 28.
Long said Tuesday night that Dorrell was one of three finalists among 159 candidates for the job. Petrino never revealed he was having an affair with Dorrell, or that he had made a $20,000 gift to her. Long said their relationship had been going on for a "significant period of time."
"I'm disappointed in his lack of judgment," Long said. "I'm disappointed in his failure to tell me the truth about it. Coach Petrino had a number of opportunities to share with me the nature of his relationship."
For the rest of Mark Schlabach's story, click here.
If only Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long had left a laminated pink slip taped to football coach Bobby Petrino's office door.Or on his mangled Harley-Davidson.