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Louisville Hires Bobby Petrino

The Western Kentucky head coach returns to where it all started.

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Andy Lyons

On Thursday, the University of Louisville announced that Bobby Petrino will return as the Cardinals' football coach. Previously the Louisville head coach from 2003-06, Petrino led the program to a 41-9 record in four seasons, including a 24-13 win over Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl.

Petrino spent four years at Louisville before leaving the college game for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. The Petrino NFL head coaching experiment lasted all of 13 games (3-10) before resigning to take the head coaching job at Arkansas. He lead the Razorbacks to a 34-17 record, including a Sugar Bowl appearance in 2010, but was fired in April 2012 for a "pattern of misleading behavior" following a motorcycle accident with his mistress, a former Arkansas volleyball player.

Following the scandal, Petrino signed a four-year deal with Western Kentucky, guiding the Hilltoppers to an 8-4 season and a third place finish in the Sun Belt this past season.

In light of Petrino's chequered past, this seems like an unimaginative and uninspired hire by Louisville AD Tom Jurich. Off-field issues aside, however, all this guy does is win. Petrino is 83-30 in eight seasons as a college head coach and will be tasked with building on the positive momentum Charlie Strong established at Louisville in the years after Steve Kragthorpe Spaz'd the program.

Petrino's new deal with Louisville will pay him $3.5 million per year over seven years ($24.5 million in total) but includes a substantial buyout should he leave early. For reference, Charlie Strong made $3.7 million per year at Louisville. Addazio reportedly makes $1.6 million a year. According to USA Today's coaching salaries database, that $3.5 million figure makes Petrino the second highest paid coach in the ACC and 10th nationally, behind only Florida State's Jimbo Fisher. In fact, the four highest paid coaches in the conference all will call the ACC Atlantic Division home next season -- Fisher, Petrino, N.C. State's Dave Doeren and Clemson's Dabo Swinney.

Can't help but think Boston College's road back to contending for division titles just got a little bit more difficult with the defending National Champs, Clemson and now a Petrino-led Louisville team joining the Atlantic Division.

For more reactions on the hire, stop by Card Chronicle.