Arkansas Football Hires John L. Smith to Replace Bobby Petrino?

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on April 23 2012 3:09 PM
Petrino was injured in the crash, fracturing a vertebrae and breaking several ribs.
Arkansas has found a replacement for Bobby Petrino. chuckoliver.net

The University of Arkansas might be set to hire a new football coach to replace Bobby Petrino, according to reports.

Bo Mattingly, a radio show host in Arkansas, first reported that the school will announce its newest head coach on Monday afternoon. Mattingly reported that Petrino's replacement won't be anyone on the current staff and will not be an interim head coach.

The Associated Press reported on Monday afternoon that the school decided to hire former Michigan State coach John L. Smith as the school's interim coach. Smith currently coaches as the head coach at Weber State, but served as Arkansas's special teams coordinator for 2009-2011.

Smith replaces Petrino, who was fired on April 10th after lying about an inappropriate relationship with Jessica Dorrell, a 25-year-old football staffer. Petrino carried on a seven month relationship with the former Arkansas volleyball player, including giving her $20,000 and a job within the football program.

Petrino had won 21 games in his last two seasons at Arkansas and had the Razorbacks geared for a potential championship season under his helm. Arkansas could have had its best season in decades with Petrino guiding the way next season, but Long decided that he couldn't allow a coach that viewed himself above the entire university to continue on in that position.

Arkansas decided to fire Petrino with cause -- meaning he won't be owed any of the $18 million remaining on his contract -- after he lied about an April 1st motorcycle accident. He initially told Long and the athletic department that he was riding alone in a crash that left him with broken ribs and cracked vertebrae, but later admitted to riding along with Dorrell.

He made the decision, a conscious decision, to mislead the public on Tuesday, and in doing so negatively and adversely affected the reputation of the University of Arkansas and our football program, Long said on April 10th. In short, coach Petrino engaged in a pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior designed to deceive me and members of the athletic staff, both before and after the motorcycle accident.

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