AD disappointed with timing of coach's contacts

Updated: January 2, 2005, 7:09 PM ET
Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- One day after Bobby Petrino pulled out of consideration for the LSU football coaching job, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said Sunday he would honor his coach's new contract.

It will be up to him whether he wants to honor it.
AD Tom Jurich, on Louisville coach Bobby Petrino's contract

But Jurich expressed disappointment with the timing of Petrino's contacts with LSU, which fueled intense speculation about the coach's future as Louisville prepared for its Liberty Bowl game against Boise State. The Cardinals (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP) defeated 10th-ranked Boise State 44-40 on Friday, giving the Cardinals a best-ever 11-1 record.

"As of now, I will honor his contract. It will be up to him whether he wants to honor it," Jurich told reporters before Louisville's basketball game against Tennessee State.

Bobby Petrino

Petrino, who finished his second year at Louisville, did not attend the news conference at Freedom Hall.

Petrino met with LSU officials just days after the coach signed a new deal with Louisville that gave him a raise from $550,000 to $1 million a season, plus incentive clauses.

Jurich said he still considers Petrino the "right person for the job, but I think he's going to have to make that decision." Jurich said he would meet with Petrino soon to discuss what transpired in recent days.

Jurich said he doesn't want Petrino to stay only because he didn't land what he perceives as a better job.

"I want him to coach here because he thinks this is the greatest football job in the country," Jurich said.

Jurich said he expected other high-profile schools to approach Petrino, and that has happened several times in the past two years.

"He is going to get other people coming after him. That's the nature of our business," Jurich said. "So we will all be prepared for that."

Jurich said he already had a "short list" of candidates for the head coaching job if Petrino leaves.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press