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The coach’s tenure with the Razorbacks began under a cloud of national second-guessing following his departure from Atlanta 13 games into the 2007 season. His tenure with the Falcons was the shortest for a non-interim coach since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.

His departure was so sudden that Petrino left farewell notes in the lockers of the Atlanta players rather than telling them of his resignation in person. He was introduced later that night as the new coach of the Razorbacks, carrying with him a vagabond image after holding 15 jobs for 11 different programs/organizations in 24 seasons.