AD shoots down Florida speculation
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Louisville's Tom Jurich was with a crowd of Cardinals fans in the visiting athletic director's box at the Liberty Bowl on Thursday, waiting to see his team play rival Memphis.
Just prior to kickoff, the room went silent and everyone's eyes turned to the television on the wall. ESPN analyst Trev Alberts was revved up on the screen, adamantly announcing that Louisville's Bobby Petrino should be the next coach at Florida.
Jurich just smiled. He looked like a man who knows he's not losing his football coach to Florida -- or anywhere else -- this year.
The fact is, Petrino sent a letter to a Louisville former players association last week saying that he "wanted to ensure you I am staying in Louisville." And he reiterated that to his boss in a meeting Wednesday.
"I think Bobby wants our people to know he's committed here," Jurich said. "The future is extremely bright, and he knows that. This is a job that has his stamp on it. I'm not sure Florida would have his stamp on it."
As for Alberts' stumping for Florida to steal his coach?
"It's not shocking," he said. "Bobby deserves all the attention he's getting. I think he's the best young coach I've been around, and he's done a remarkable job here. It's very flattering to our program. He'd be a great coach everywhere, but I think he'd be a better coach at the University of Louisville."
Heading into the Memphis game, Petrino was 14-5 at Louisville. The Cardinals won nine games last year. They're currently ranked No. 16 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll and lead the nation in total offense.
Pat Forde is a senior writer at ESPN.com. He can be reached at ESPN4D@aol.com.