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Petrino is Atlanta's new head coach

January 08, 2007|From the Associated Press

Louisville Coach Bobby Petrino agreed Sunday to coach the Atlanta Falcons, moving to the NFL less than a week after the firing of Jim Mora.

Petrino, 45, joins the Falcons after guiding Louisville to a 12-1 record, capped by a 24-13 victory over Wake Forest on Tuesday night in the Orange Bowl.

A Louisville spokesman said Petrino met with players Sunday night to say he was leaving. The Falcons planned a formal announcement today, but issued a statement announcing their new coach.

"This is an exciting day for the Atlanta Falcons franchise," owner Arthur Blank said. "Bobby Petrino is an extremely talented football coach who has done some tremendously innovative things as both an offensive coordinator and head coach, and he brings to us a record of success at the collegiate and professional levels."

Petrino said he was leaving for what "I truly feel is the best job in the National Football League."

Petrino had a 41-9 record in four years at Louisville, leading the school to the Big East Conference title and its first Bowl Championship Series victory in the Orange Bowl. He had just completed the first year of a 10-year, $25-million contract. said he agreed to a five-year, $24-million deal with the Falcons.

The Falcons moved quickly to replace Mora, who was fired two seasons after leading Atlanta to the NFC championship game. The Falcons did not reach the playoffs the last two years and finished 7-9 this season.

Petrino's previous NFL experience includes three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He then returned to the college ranks, taking over as Auburn's offensive coordinator in 2002 before heading to Louisville.


Special teams coordinator Larry Mac Duff is leaving the San Francisco 49ers to become an assistant coach at the University of Texas, the 49ers announced.

Mac Duff will be the Longhorns' assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

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