ArkansasVarsity.com began contacting high school coaches from across the Natural state Wednesday evening in regards to the news that Bobby Petrino had been fired from the University of Arkansas.
Some coaches have declined comment, others have given their thoughts. Some have not returned phone calls. We spoke with two more coaches this morning after speaking with North Little Rock head coach Brad Bolding yesterday.
Warren head coach Bo Hembree did not want to give many thoughts, but he did share a brief statement with us.
"Coach Petrino and I were pretty tight," said Hembree. "I really think a lot of him. Everyone makes mistakes, and unfortunately he made one."
"I've sent four kids up to play for him, and he made all of them into some great men," Hembree added. "They all said he was tough, but fair, and that is how you make high school players into great men at the college level. I just hate this for him. Everyone makes mistakes, and I just hate that this happened to him."
Yellville-Summitt head coach Calvin Mallett feels the same way.
"We as humans all make mistakes, I know I have," said Mallett. "I think Jeff Long did what he had to do though, I don't think he had any other option. I mean, winning is winning and losing is losing, but wins and loses come and go. Being able to do the right thing in this kind of situation doesn't, and I feel Jeff Long did not only what he had to do, but the right thing as well."
"I think Jeff Long won over a lot of fans with the way he conducted himself during the press conference," Mallett added. "Arkansas is on the big stage now, and everyone knows that. With that comes a lot of pressure, and there are a lot of us coaches who could not handle the job that Bobby Petrino had to do. Pressure sometimes leads to mistakes, and Bobby made a big one, but at the end of the day, I don't think Jeff Long had any other option than to let him go."
Coach Mallett's son Stockton Mallett is one of the Natural state's top recruits in the Class of 2013, and both father and son took a visit to the University of Arkansas Wednesday afternoon. He is also the uncle of former Razorback quarterback Ryan Mallett.
"Stockton and I were at practice yesterday," said Mallett. "It was business as usual. In fact, the coaches and the team were very professional in the way they conducted themselves. I've been on that campus many times and have witnessed many practices under Petrino, and had I not known he wasn't there, I wouldn't have been able to tell it. They had a great, enthusiastic practice, and it was just business as usual."
Mallett also stated that he hopes Petrino will land on his feet somewhere soon.
"Bobby Petrino is a winner, and someone is going to see that," said Mallett. "It may take him a couple of years, but someone will pick him up even if it is as a position coach in the NFL. My prayers are certainly going out for him and his family."
ArkansasVarsity.com has placed phone calls to several in-state coaches in attempts to gain their thoughts on Petrino's firing. We will run any updates as we receive them.
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