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Coach Petrino Firing Leads to $1.25 Million Donation to Arkansas

Former Head Coach Bobby Petrino
Bobby Petrino, seen here as head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Photographer: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The University of Arkansas received $1.25 million in donations from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and its board chairman that cite the “courageous leadership” of the athletic director in firing football coach Bobby Petrino.

Petrino was dismissed on April 10, nine days after he was injured in a motorcycle accident and then covered up the fact that a female football staff member also was on the bike. The former coach later acknowledged having an “inappropriate relationship” with the woman, 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell, who has since resigned from her job.

Athletic Director Jeff Long accused the 51-year-old Petrino, who led the Razorbacks to a Cotton Bowl win and a No. 5 final ranking in the Associated Press college football poll last season, of a “pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior.”

The Las Vegas-based Reynolds Foundation gave $1 million, the university said in a statement. Foundation Chairman Fred W. Smith donated $250,000 to support the school’s Student-Athlete Success Center and what will now be called the Jeff Long Student-Athlete Development Program.

“Mr. Long acted with integrity and with the best interests of Razorback student-athletes and the University of Arkansas in mind,” Smith said in a statement released by the university.

Petrino had a 34-17 record in four seasons at Arkansas, with total pay last year of $3.6 million, according to university records.

The Reynolds Foundation said on its website that it is dedicated to helping communities in Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma; speeding research on atherosclerosis and atherosclerotic heart disease; aiding physician training in treating the elderly; and improving quality and integrity in journalism.

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