Bobby Petrino wins big with Grantham, McGee decisions

Let’s go back to August, when one media outlet reported tensions rising between Louisville coach Bobby Petrino and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.

Hard to put much stock in that innuendo when you consider what happened Wednesday. Grantham turned down an opportunity to become Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator to stay with Petrino for another season. Does that sound like the move of a man desperate to get away?

Just a few weeks earlier, offensive coordinator Garrick McGee turned away Oklahoma, where he played quarterback in the 1990s.

Petrino must be doing something right. Keeping both his coordinators in place after overtures from the NFL and a blue-blood college program is a bigger win than anything that happens next week on national signing day. A year into the job, with a host of skeptics remaining, Petrino absolutely needed this.

So did Louisville. The school is finally making people take notice it is no longer an afterthought. This is a program with one of the highest athletic budgets in the league. It is led by a risk-taking athletic director with a vision, completely willing to shell out the cash for coaches and facility upgrades.

With that perspective, it should not come as a shock that both coordinators elected to stay. McGee and Petrino have as close a relationship as you will find between head coach and assistant. McGee left his job as UAB head coach to become Louisville's offensive coordinator, a job he believes is among the best in the country.

His decision to stay did surprise those who know him best. His next move could very well end up being for another head coaching job.

The decision Grantham made may have been a little more surprising to some, considering his NFL background. He spent 11 years as an NFL assistant and does have a desire to be a head coach one day, on either level.

But in the end, there were several factors at play. The Raiders are not exactly built to win now. Louisville is. He already is one of the highest paid coordinators in the country at almost $1 million per season. Plus, the Grantham family has made a home in Louisville and wanted to stay. He was not ready to walk away after just one year on the job.

It was, in fact, a year ago this month that Grantham decided to leave Georgia for Louisville. Since then, Grantham has been asked repeatedly why he would leave the SEC. Each time, he said he truly believed Louisville was a school that could win a national championship.

McGee believes the same. Petrino believes the same. For the next year at least, they will work together to try and make that happen.