Students excited about Petrino’s hire

Bobby Petrino/

Brad Stephens

Louisville junior Zach Darst grew up a Kentucky fan, rooting against Bobby Petrino’s Louisville Cardinals in the early-2000s.

But when Petrino was named WKU’s 18th head football coach Monday, Darst said he was throwing his prior dislike for Petrino to the side.

“I was shocked,” Darst said Monday afternoon. “When I saw on Twitter that he was on campus I couldn’t believe it. I’m really excited, especially for the program.

Petrino was named WKU’s coach Monday afternoon, just three days after coach Willie Taggart left to take the same job at South Florida.

Petrino was formerly head coach with Louisville, Arkansas and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.

He sat out the 2012 season after being fired by Arkansas for an affair with a football program employee.

Georgetown senior Travis Brock said he wasn’t concerned about Petrino’s personal past when he heard the news.

“It’s about the resume, not necessarily the reputation,” said Brock, who said his grandfather called him with the news right before he was to give a finals presentation in a biomechanics class.

“He turned around two programs, our program just got turned around, and so I think it’ll be a good transition.”

Several fans said they were excited to see what Petrino could do with the WKU offense, specifically with running back Antonio Andrews.

Andrews, a junior with one year of eligibility left, has run for 1,609 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. He also has a chance to break the NCAA single-season all-purpose yardage record on Dec. 26 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

“I knew that he was visiting today and once it broke, I was pretty excited,” London junior Wheeler Painter said. “I’m glad to see a good coach come to WKU — not to say Taggart wasn’t a good coach — but someone that already has a high profile and has done well.”

Petrino’s hire came two days after defensive coordinator Lance Guidry was promoted to interim head coach.

On Sunday, after WKU held its first football practice since Taggart’s departure several players took to Twitter and started a #CoachG4HC hashtag campaign in support of Guidry.

A Facebook group entitled “Lance Guidry for Head Coach at WKU” was also created.

Both Darst and Burlington, N.J. junior Frank Vespe said they thought Guidry would’ve made a good candidate, but that the Petrino hire was a good one.

“I thought they would go with Lance Guidry for head coach,” Vespe said. “But Bobby Petrino — this is a surprise for me.”