ATLANTA - Louisville coach Bobby Petrino agreed today to become the new coach of the Atlanta Falcons, moving to the N-F-L less than a week after Jim Mora's firing.
Kenny Klein, the sports information director at Louisville, said Petrino was leaving for Atlanta after guiding the Cardinals to a 12-and-1 season, capped off by a 24-to-13 victory over Wake Forest on Tuesday night in the Orange Bowl. Petrino met with his Louisville players tonight to let them know he was leaving.
A Falcons spokesman had no immediate comment, but a formal announcement is expected tomorrow. Petrino had a 41-and-9 record in four years at Louisville, leading the school to the Big East title and its first Bowl Championship Series victory in the Orange. He had just completed the first year of a ten-year, 25 (m) million dollar contract.
The Falcons moved quickly to replace Mora, who was fired just two years after leading Atlanta to the N-F-C championship game. The Falcons missed the playoffs the past two years, including a 7-and-9 mark this season.
Petrino's previous N-F-L experience includes three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, including two seasons as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in 2001.
He then moved back to the college ranks, taking over as Auburn's offensive coordinator in 2002 before heading to Louisville.