Jimbo Fisher’s long-awaited offensive coordinator hire at Texas A&M officially came to fruition on Friday when the school announced that Bobby Petrino would lead the offense.
“I am very happy to add Bobby as our offensive coordinator,” Fisher said in a school statement. “I always had tremendous respect for him as a head coach, offensive coordinator and play caller. He is one of the best minds in college football. Bobby has a reputation for developing players and we are extremely excited to have him on our staff.”
Petrino, the former head coach at Arkansas and Louisville, spent the past three seasons as the head coach at Missouri State, an FCS program. And only a few weeks ago, Petrino was announced as the new offensive coordinator at UNLV. But with the chance to run an SEC offense presented to him, Petrino’s time in Las Vegas was over quickly.
ESPN reported that Petrino will take the play-calling duties from Fisher in College Station in an attempt to revive a stagnant Aggies offense that averaged only 22.8 points per game this season.
Fisher has always called his own plays on offense and is one of the diminishing number of head coaches to do so, and although he will still be heavily involved in the Aggies’ offense, sources told ESPN that Petrino will take over primary play-calling duties.
Texas A&M was ranked No. 6 in the preseason AP poll and ended up finishing the year 5-7 overall with a 2-6 mark in SEC play. Before the season-ending win over LSU, Texas A&M hadn’t scored more than 30 points in a game vs. an FBS opponent in 13 consecutive games.
After the season, Fisher fired offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey, who had served in that role since 2018, the year Fisher was hired by A&M. All the while, though, it was Fisher calling plays despite middling production.
Fisher, who has a guaranteed 10-year, $95 million contract, is 39-21 overall and 23-18 in SEC play in five seasons at Texas A&M. That includes a combined 13-11 (6-10 SEC) record over the past two seasons.
Petrino went 77-35 over two stints with Louisville and was 34-17 at Arkansas. He infamously left Louisville in January 2007 less than six months after signing a 10-year contract to take a job with the Atlanta Falcons. He lasted 13 games with the Falcons and resigned by leaving a note at the lockers of his players.
From Atlanta, he bolted to Arkansas. He coached there through the 2011 season but was fired after his infamous motorcycle crash. A female staff member was with him during the incident. Petrino initially lied and said he was alone before it was quickly revealed that the married Petrino had a companion with him and the two were in a relationship.
From there, Petrino spent the 2012 season out of coaching before resurfacing at Western Kentucky. He coached WKU to an 8-4 record, which was good enough for him to get another shot at Louisville. UL won at least eight games in his first four seasons back with the Cardinals (with some help from a QB named Lamar Jackson), before the program’s on-field results cratered in 2018. He was fired after a 2-8 start that included an 0-7 mark in ACC play.
Before long, Petrino got yet another shot, this time at Missouri State. In three seasons, he had an 18-15 record with two FCS playoff appearances.
Now, Petrino will join a staff that also includes defensive coordinator DJ Durkin and offensive line coach Steve Addazio.