Sources: Petrino to join Odom at UNLV as OC

by Ricardo Gutierrez - Bobby Petrino, widely regarded as one of the brightest offensive minds/play-callers in the game, is returning to the FBS ranks as offensive coordinator at UNLV under new coach Barry Odom, sources told ESPN on Thursday.

Sources: UNLV hiring Bobby Petrino as offensive coordinator 10:15 AM ET Chris Low Close Chris Low ESPN Senior Writer College football reporter Joined ESPN.com in 2007 Graduate of the University of Tennessee Adam Rittenberg Close Adam Rittenberg ESPN Senior Writer College football reporter. Joined ESPN.com in 2008. Graduate of Northwestern University. Bobby Petrino, widely regarded as one of the brightest offensive minds/play-callers in the game, is returning to the FBS ranks as offensive coordinator at UNLV under new coach Barry Odom, sources told ESPN on Thursday. Petrino has been the head coach at Missouri State the previous three seasons. He guided the Bears to FCS playoff appearances in two of his three seasons. Missouri State had last played in the playoff in 1990 when Petrino arrived. This will be Petrino's first assistant coaching job since 2002 when he was the offensive coordinator at Auburn. Overall, counting a couple of promotions, this will be his 18th coaching job. Editor's Picks UNLV names Arkansas DC Odom as next coach 9d Adam Rittenberg and Chris Low Petrino, 61, has been wildly successful in previous head coaching stops. He coached a Heisman Trophy winner in Lamar Jackson at Louisville, elevated Arkansas and Louisville to national relevance for the first time in years and has won 66 percent of his games as a college head coach. But he's also met controversy along the way, most notably at Arkansas when he was fired in April 2012 after school officials said he lied about a motorcycle accident while riding with a female football staffer that Petrino had hired and with whom he was having an affair. The Hogs won 11 games the previous season, including a Cotton Bowl win, and finished No. 5 in the final AP poll. They won 10 games in 2010 and played in the Sugar Bowl. "Unfortunately, I will always get to carry that with me, how it ended there," Petrino told ESPN this summer. "I hurt a lot of people and let a lot of people down." Petrino, who coached the NFL's Atlanta Falcons for part of the 2007 season, was heavily criticized by coaches and players on that team for leaving to take the Arkansas job with three games remaining in the season. The Falcons were 3-10 at the time of Petrino's abrupt departure. Bobby Petrino is widely regarded as one of the best playcallers in college football. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images Petrino had two different head coaching stints at Louisville. He led the Cardinals to a pair of top-10 finishes in 2004 and 2006, the only times in school history that has happened, before leaving to take the Falcons' job after agreeing to a new deal at Louisville. He was out of coaching for a year in 2012 after being fired at Arkansas and then coached at Western Kentucky for a season before returning to Louisville. His second stint at Louisville was also filled with wins until the end. The Cardinals went 21-11 in league games from 2014-17 and won nine games twice in four seasons, but it all unraveled in 2018. Petrino's father died just before the start of the season, and the Cardinals lost their last nine games, many of those routs. Petrino was fired with two games remaining in the season. He was again out of football for a year in 2019 before being hired at Missouri State. Petrino's penchant for calling a game on offense and keeping defenses off balance has been lauded by some of the best coaches in the country. "Having coached against him -- the things they do on offense, the way his players are coached -- it's phenomenal," Alabama's Nick Saban told ESPN this summer. "... He's one of the toughest guys I've gone against." New Louisville coach Jeff Brohm, who coached under Petrino at Western Kentucky and Louisville, added: "He could take a group of college students on an intramural team, put them out there on the field and help them win games." Petrino also had discussions in recent weeks with Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher about the Aggies' offensive coordinator job and talked to other schools as well about openings. One of the things that appealed to Petrino about the UNLV job was the challenge of helping Odom rebuild the program, which has suffered through nine straight losing seasons. Las Vegas is also a short plane flight from where Petrino's mother lives in Montana. Petrino is scheduled to be in Las Vegas later on Thursday, and the deal is expected to be officially announced soon. Petrino's son-in-law, Ryan Beard, will be a top candidate to replace him as Missouri State head coach. Beard is the Bears' defensive coordinator.