VIDEO: Petrino apologetic in first interview
Posted: August 9, 2012 at 10:53 a.m.
Updated: August 9, 2012 at 11:34 a.m.
FAYETTEVILLE In an interview aired on ESPN, former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino spoke publicly for the first time Thursday about a series of events that led to his firing in April.
Petrino, speaking in his home state of Montana, said he felt he would be a "better coach" because of his fall from grace with the Razorbacks, and said he has focused his time in recent months on repairing damage done to his family.
He was fired April 10 after he hired Jessica Dorrell to an administrative position on his staff at the University of Arkansas. The two were later discovered to have had an extramarital relationship.
"How did I possibly do this?," Petrino said. "I'm trying to put my finger on the why. I somehow drifted away from what has always been so important to me and what I've been defined as, which is my family.
"There's no justification and no excuse for having [Dorrell] in the interview pool or hiring her."
Their relationship was investigated by UA administrators after an April 1 motorcycle crash which left Petrino with severe injuries. Petrino stated he was the lone rider on his Harley-Davidson before the release of an Arkansas State Police report that identified Dorrell as a passenger.
Petrino was put on an administrative leave the same day the police report was released and fired five days later for what UA Athletic Director Jeff Long called a pattern of "manipulative and misleading" events.
"I wasn't acting correctly," Petrino said. "It's not how I was raised. It's not how I raised my children.
"My actions and behavior for months was just wrong."
Petrino was remorseful during the interview, even tearing up while speaking of his wife.
"Looking at the look in her eyes of how I could possibly do something like this to hurt her [was the hardest part]," Petrino said. "I guess anybody who has ever hurt their loved ones or lost their dream job can relate.
"I have a better understanding of what life is really about — keep your priorities straight, put your energy into people that love you and count on you."