When Bobby Petrino walked out on the Falcons to coach Arkansas in 2007, he did so in a fashion that had his players feeling betrayed. It turns out that the circumstances that led to his departure from Arkansas this week involved betraying one of the players on that Falcons team as effectively.
Petrino was fired due to the fact, among other items, he hired a lady he had an affair with, Jessica Dorrell, for the position of player improvement coordinator for the Arkansas football plan. Dorrell was fast-tracked for the job and was the 1st individual interviewed even although she wasn’t qualified for it, and she ultimately was selected more than the second individual interviewed: Ben Wilkerson, who played for Petrino on the Falcons in 2007. It’s now clear that Wilkerson’s interview was a sham designed to hide the fact that Petrino’s sole objective in the hiring process was to get his mistress a job.
Sports Illustrated has detailed the bogus job search that Arkansas conducted prior to hiring Dorrell, and there’s no way to appear at it and not conclude that Petrino wasted Wilkerson’s time with an interview due to the fact he wanted to make it look like Arkansas was thinking about other applicants. Wilkerson was clearly far more qualified than Dorrell for the job, but Wilkerson didn’t have the benefit of sleeping with Petrino.
A single of the “minimum qualifications” for the player development coordinator position was “two years of prior encounter within a football program.” Dorrell had no encounter inside a football system at all. Wilkerson was a 4-year starter at LSU, a first-team All-American on a team that won the national championship, and an NFL player who went back to LSU and worked with the football plan right after his playing profession ended. Another qualification listed for the position was “master’s degree in associated field.” Dorrell does not have a master’s degree Wilkerson has a master’s degree in sports management from LSU.
Wilkerson wasn’t the only applicant who got passed more than 159 people applied for the job and the Sports Illustrated investigation located that many had been clearly more qualified than Dorrell. The third individual Arkansas claimed was a finalist for the job that Dorrell was going to get all along, a lady named Tiffany Fields, was substantially more qualified than Dorrell as well. Fields has two master’s degrees from Arkansas and has previously worked for the football system as a tutor, and she has also helped Arkansas organize summer football camps, which is one of the player development coordinator’s duties.
After Wilkerson was passed more than at Arkansas he accepted a job as Grambling’s offensive line coach, and he mentioned this week that he doesn’t want to talk about the expertise of interviewing at Arkansas.
“I’m prepared to just go on,” he stated. “Of course I interviewed for the position, but I’d rather not go over it because of the entire issue . . . I’m beginning a new job now and that’s my focal point.”
When Petrino left the Falcons, he was described by other people in the locker space as “classless” and “a gutless bastard.” Wilkerson is taking the high road publicly, but privately he could be forgiven if he has even stronger words than that for Petrino.