Missouri State formally introduces Petrino as new head coach

Published: Jan. 16, 2020 at 11:29 AM CST
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Missouri State University officially ushered in its new era of football, introducing head coach Bobby Petrino to fans Thursday morning at JQH Arena.

Petrino delivered a brief statement before fielding questions from reporters for about 15 minutes during the news conference.

He has been very familiar with Missouri State from his time coaching at Arkansas. One of Petrino's daughters went to Springfield to play golf.

He coached against what was then known as Southwest Missouri State in 1989 as an assistant for Idaho in the playoffs and knows this is a place that loves football.

Petrino is ready to hit the recruiting trail, get a coaching staff in place, and turn around a program that won just one game and lost 10 in 2019.

"If you're gonna write a script, let's write a script like this," Petrino said. "I come here, I'd be very successful, I'd decide eight, ten years from now whether I still want to coach football with a national championship in my pocket. That's what I want to see happen."

Petrino said taking the MSU job was not about money, adding he reduced his coach's salary to add to the pool of money for assistant coaches.

"I see it as a two-fold job," Petrino said. "Working hard with players... to be students, to be athletes... but I also see it as the opportunity to develop young coaches."

Petrino only needed to respond to one question about past indiscretions off the field, which included a 2012 incident involving Petrino and a mistress. Petrino hired the 25-year-old woman and gave her a $20,000 gift. He crashed his motorcycle in April 2012, initially saying he was alone before it was discovered the mistress was with him.

"I'm fortunate enough to have a great wife and great family, stay together and move forward," Petrino said.

On Tuesday night, there was a conflicting report about Missouri State's hire just after KY3 Sports Director Chad Plein went on record with news that it was Petrino to be hired.

Thursday morning, MSU President Clif Smart said the university never talked to former Baylor coach Art Briles, and would not have hired Briles for the Bears job.

Briles was fired from Baylor after he failed to act regarding alleged rapes and other sexual assaults connected to his football program.

Thursday's news conference included some moments of laughter and levity. When asked about MSU's 2020 schedule -- which includes an opening-week game on the road against nationally ranked Oklahoma -- Petrino said, "I'm still here," which drew laughs from the audience.

"It's a good schedule," Petrino added. "There's no doubt about that."