Tigers Hire Offensive Coordinator

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn has hired an NFL offensive coordinator with plenty of college experience in naming <b>Bob Petrino</b> as its new offensive coordinator.

Meanwhile, head coach Tommy Tuberville is at the national coaches convention in San Antonio, Tex., interviewing defensive coordinator candidates for that still vacant position.

After two seasons as the Jacksonville Jaguars' quarterbacks coach, Petrino was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2001, taking over the play-calling duties from head coach Tom Coughlin.

"I am excited to be joining the Auburn coaching staff," Petrino said. "I am looking forward to working with the quarterbacks and developing an offensive system that will help Auburn win championships."

Petrino's teams led the nation in total offense at three different levels--Division I at Louisville (1998), Division I-AA at Idaho (1989) and NAIA at Carroll College (1986).

"We're pleased to have Bobby as a member of our coaching staff," Tuberville said in announcing his decision. "His background and his ability to develop quarterbacks will be a valuable resource to our program. He has a lot of experience as a coordinator and that along with his offensive philosophy and coaching style will make him a strong addition to our staff."

The 40-year-old Petrino has 16 years of college coaching experience to go with three seasons in the National Football League. In his first two years with the Jaguars, he was the quarterback coach. He added offensive coordinator duties in 2001. Petrino will coach QBs and coordinate the offense at Auburn. He has been an offensive coordinator in 10 of his 19 coaching seasons.

Petrino joined the NFL's Jaguars on February, 1999. In 1998, he was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at the University of Louisville, where he coached quarterback Chris Redman, now with the Baltimore Ravens. Petrino has been the coordinator of teams that led the nation in total offense at three collegiate levels at the NAIA, Division I-AA and Division I levels.

He was the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Utah State from 1995 to 1997. In 1994, Petrino was the offensive coordinator at the University of Nevada, where his offense ranked second in the nation in yards and third in scoring. In 1994, Nevada became the third team in NCAA history to have a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver.

He began his coaching career in 1983 as a graduate assistant at Carroll College in Montana and then he spent one season as the quarterback coach at Weber State in 1984. He returned to Carroll College as offensive coordinator and produced the NAIA's top-ranked offense in both 1985 and 1986. In 1987 Petrino returned to Weber State, coaching tight ends and wide receivers for two years. He then spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator at the University of Idaho and two seasons as the quarterback coach at Arizona State.

Petrino replaces Noel Mazzone, who was fired from the offensive coordinator's post last week. Former defensive coordinator John Lovett is also being replaced.

Petrino attended Carroll College in Helena, Mont., where he was a NAIA All-America quarterback and led the team to three consecutive Frontier Conference championships and was named the league's Most Valuable Player in 1981 and 1982. He received a degree in mathematics and physical education from Carroll College in 1983.

The new Auburn offensive coordinator comes from a coaching family. His father, Bob, was inducted into the NAIA Coaches Hall of Fame after spending 29 years as head coach at Carroll College. Bob Petrino's brother, Paul, is in his third season as the QB coach at Southern Mississippi.

Tuberville may have a defensive coordinator on board later this week. Some prominent candidates include Woody Widenhofer, the former Vanderbilt head coach. His claim to fame came with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was the architect of the famed Steel Curtain Defense. Widenhofer has made it quite clear he wants the Auburn job and has already met with Tuberville to discuss the position.

Tuberville is also believed to be looking at David Gibbs of the Denver Broncos. Gibbs coaches safeties and special teams there after spending 10 years in the college ranks after a standout career at the University of Colorado as a defensive back after going to Boulder out of Auburn High School. He was a member of Colorado's 1990 national championship team.

Paul Rhoads, the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Pitt, is also considered one of the leading candidates. He has also served as a secondary coach at Iowa State and Pacific.

Another possibility, Gene Chizik from Central Florida, is also a defensive coordinator and secondary coach. He has coached there for four seasons at UCF after stints at Stephen F. Austin and Middle Tennessee.

Tuberville has had a large number of candidates apply for the position. He said he wants to have the coordinators on board as soon as possible to help in recruiting with national signing date set for Feb. 6th. Auburn is scheduled to entertain prospects starting on Friday. Petrino is expected to be in Auburn on Thursday to start his new job.

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