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January 7, 2007
Confirmed by LSR: Petrino to Atlanta
Just days after the biggest win in school history, reports indicate Cardinal coach Bobby Petrino may be leaving the University of Louisville. Reports on ESPN and several other sources have an announcement happening as early as Monday.
ESPN's Pat Forde is reporting as of Sunday night that Petrino has accepted a five-year, $24 million offer to become head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
Petrino had accepted a ten-year, $25 million extension on his contract at the University of Louisville prior to the 2006 season. Petrino had previously interviewed with Auburn, LSU, Notre Dame and the Oakland Raiders, but reassured fans, the university, and recruits at the beginning of the season and as recently as last month that he would stay at Louisville.
The coach was 41-9 at Louisville, leading an offense that was perenially near the top in the nation. He led the Cardinals to a 12-1 record this past season, including the school's first BCS victory over Wake Forest on Jan. 2.
ESPN.com's report says that players on the team were informed at a 9:00 p.m. meeting.
There has been no official announcement from Louisville or the Atlanta franchise.