From Crash to Firing: Timeline of the Bobby Petrino Scandal at Arkansas

Stephen Williams@SteveO_WilliamsContributor IIIApril 11, 2012

LITTLE ROCK, AR - NOVEMBER 19:   Head Coach Bobby Petrino and the Arkansas Razorbacks watches his team warm up before a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at War Memorial Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Bulldogs 44-17.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Nine days ago, Bobby Petrino was involved in a scary motorcycle accident that left many people worried about the health of the Arkansas football coach.

Now, Petrino has been fired, and Arkansas is looking for a new head coach.

Many events transpired between the crash and the firing. Here’s a timeline of events culminating in Arkansas’ decision to fire Bobby Petrino.

March 28: Petrino announces Jessica Dorrell as Student-Athlete Development Coordinator. Dorrell was a former volleyball player at Arkansas and was hired to help organize recruiting and assist with eligibility questions for the football team. Little did anyone know at the time what a vital event this would be. 

April 1: Bobby Petrino is involved in a single-vehicle motorcycle crash around 6:45 p.m. local time approximately 23 miles out of town. Petrino is taken to a nearby hospital where he is treated for “not life threatening” injuries and held overnight.

April 2: The University of Arkansas releases a statement regarding the accident. Notice it says the accident “involved no other individuals.”

Coach Petrino was involved in a motorcycle accident on Sunday evening that involved no other individuals. He is in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery.

April 3: Petrino returns to Arkansas practice wearing a neck brace. Petrino admits to not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and says the last thing he remembers before the crash was the sun shining in his eyes.

April 5: Details emerge that Petrino was not alone at the time of the accident. Jessica Dorrell was on the motorcycle with Petrino at the time of the crash, taking the story to a new level.

Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long
Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff LongWesley Hitt/Getty Images

That evening, Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long holds a press conference to discuss the situation. Long announces that Petrino has been placed on administrative leave with pay while the investigation continues into the crash and the relationship between Petrino and Dorrell. Associate Head Coach Taver Johnson will step in and assume the head coaching duties at this time.

Petrino, who didn’t attend the press conference, releases a written statement admitting to having a “previous inappropriate relationship.”

April 6: Arkansas State Police release tape of a 911 phone call made following the accident. The caller tells the dispatcher a female was involved in the crash but “did not look to be injured.”

April 9: A rally is held on campus by supporters of Petrino hoping to make a statement that they want to see the coach retained.

April 10: A press conference is called for 7:15 p.m. local time, at which Athletic Director Jeff Long announces that Petrino has been fired “with cause.”

Shortly after, Petrino releases a statement addressing his actions and the decision.

“I chose to engage in an improper relationship. I also made several poor decisions following the end of that relationship and in the aftermath of the accident. I accept full responsibility for what has happened.”

Now Arkansas is left searching for a new head coach, and Bobby Petrino has another messy exit to add to his resume.