Bobby Petrino didnâ€™t ride his Harley Hog (alone) into Bowling Green, and didnâ€™t have to pay Western Kentucky University to let him coach the Hilltopper football team.
No, WKU is going to pay HIM. And itâ€™s not going to be chicken feed, but spendable greenbacks â€“ a lot of them.
I know that you were convinced that it all was a joke when you saw that student masquerading as WKUâ€™s director of athletics, but that really was youthful (and handsome, my better half added) Todd Stewart, and he really runs the athletics program at the Bowling Green university where Hall of Fame basketball coach Ed Diddle once coached Westernâ€™s menâ€™s and womenâ€™s basketball AND football! In fact, Mr. Diddle PLAYED for Centre College in the first football game he ever saw! That was the famed Centre team that toppled mighty Harvard 6-0 when that historic university was a football power.
And Mr. Diddle married a member of his womenâ€™s basketball team!
But, seriously, how can Western afford to pay Petrino a base salary of $850,000?
Can you say Houchens Industries? That name is on WKUâ€™s stadium. Houchens owns a lot of things. If you have never heard of them, ask Hilliard Lyons, Yes, THAT Hilliard Lyons, the big investment firm with headquarters in Louisville. Bowling Green isnâ€™t the little town that it was whenÂ your grandparents attended Western, when it was Western Kentucky State Teachers College.
Nope, the present Bowling Green is the home of Corvette, where General Motors makes the fancy car.
Westernâ€™s football team beat Kentucky in Lexington last season. It will get another shot at the Wildcats when the teams open the 2013 season on Aug. 31 in Nashville.
Present at Westernâ€™s press conference was Petrinoâ€™s wife, Becky. He wasÂ fired at Arkansas when he had a motorcycle accident with his mistress, Jessica Dorrell, on his bike and lied to his director of athletics.