One positive aspect of Bobby Petrino’s tenure as Arkansas Football Head Coach that will be lost after his termination due to covering up an affair with his aide Jessica Dorrell, is his sprit of giving.
Petrino is on record as donating more to University of Arkansas programs than any coach in UA history. That fact is not to be taken for granted, as, lost in the look at wins and losses, is how much a coach bonds with, and makes themselves part of, the university community.
In Petrino’s case, in September of last year, he and his wife Becky donated $250,000 to Arkansas Children’s Hospital for the construction of its planned new South Wing. Moreover, they established an event that’s now up in the air: the The inaugural Bobby Petrino Charity Golf Classic was to be held June 18, 2012, at The Country Club of Little Rock, but is now in limbo.
Chris McCreight, spokeswoman for the foundation, said “We are just working to determine how we move forward.” As they don’t know if his name will, or will not be retained on the event. Personally, as he did start the event, I think it should be up to him: give Petrino the chance to help determine how to save the program he started.
But I digress.
In addition to, and before the ACH donation, the blog called The SlopHouse reports that Petrino became a member of the The Razorback Foundation, the private fundraising organization for the Arkansas Athletics in November of 2008, and with a huge donation. While there seems to be a correlation between his becoming a member, and then Jessica Dorrell’s time working for the foundation as the key point at which they met – she started in 2009 – the fact is that (and from a timing aspect before Dorrell’s arrival, but while she was still a student at UA) Petrino donated $100,000 to The Razorback Foundation in November of 2008.
Here’s the press release that was issued:
“We are extremely grateful to our Razorback Foundation members for providing the support and resources for our 19 sports programs,” says Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long. “Recognizing the financial realities of some Razorback supporters, our foundation team led by Executive Director Harold Horton reached out to encourage those who had the means to increase their giving, to help off-set those impacted by the economy. Countless supporters responded to the call and the net result was a growth in the annual fund. We appreciate all of those who have made an investment in the lives of our nearly 460 student-athletes enabling them the opportunity to succeed in the classroom and in athletic competition.” The annual fund saw an increase of 6.75 percent in 2009, increasing from $11,072,245 to $11,819,370. Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino led the way in November when he became a Broyles-Matthews Platinum member, making a personal $100,000 commitment to the Razorback Foundation. … Membership in the Razorback Foundation increased from 10,390 in November 2008 to 10,587 in June 2009. With four months remaining and the traditional football season new membership period approaching, the final number will likely climb even higher. … The Razorback Foundation’s goal is ensuring the nearly 460 student-athletes at Arkansas have the equipment, facilities and overall support to achieve the goals of graduation and athletic achievement. (Harold) Horton took over as executive director of The Razorback Foundation Inc. in fall 2008 and is joined by associate directors Sean Rochelle and Norm DeBriyn. Former University of Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles also serves as a special fund raiser with the Razorback Foundation, Inc.
If you’re trying to connect dots, it was Sean Rochelle who wrote the letter of recommendation for Jessica Dorrell to get the job under Petrino in March of this year. Dorrell was a graduate assistant in the athletic department before moving over to the Razorback Foundation in 2009. Dorrell became the first woman in the entire history of the Razorback Foundation to hold such a post.