Bruised and battered Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino speaks during a news conference in Fayetteville, Ark., on Tuesday after being released from a hospital following injures he suffered during a motorcycle accident Sunday. The coach, 51, said he was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, which has now come under extra suspicion. Petrino had a female companion with him — former Hogs volleyball star Jessica Dorrell.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino told his boss that his affair with a woman he later hired as an assistant began with a kiss last fall and ended sometime in February when the two decided to simply be friends, according to documents released Thursday.
The details are in 25 pages of handwritten notes kept by Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long during meetings with Petrino on April 10 and also with Jessica Dorrell, the football department employee the coach hired without disclosing their relationship. The notes were released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request made by The Associated Press.
At one point last October, Petrino and Dorrell were sitting in a car, eating lunch and talking and “she said are you going to kiss me,” according to Long’s notes of his April 10 conversation with Petrino. He then wrote: “Kissed on lunch outing.”
It’s unclear when the relationship turned sexual, but Long’s notes seem to indicate the two decided they should be only friends sometime in early February after exchanging more than 4,300 text messages and nearly 300 phone calls, according to his business cellphone records. Dorrell was hired in late March, just a few days before she and Petrino were in a motorcycle accident that exposed their relationship and led to his ouster.
The notes suggest Long was skeptical that the affair was truly over, as Petrino has claimed.
“Why would she say she expected the relationship to continue if the motorcrash didn’t occur,” Long wrote down as one of his questions for the coach. No answer was listed in the notes.
Petrino was fired for failing to disclose his relationship with Dorrell, the former Arkansas volleyball player whom he hired last month without disclosing his conflict of interest or the fact he had once paid her $20,000 that she used to buy a car. The payment, Long wrote, could make the school “vulnerable to sexual harassment” lawsuit.
Petrino, Long wrote, “never thought the gift was a problem or the relationship.” Long put two big question marks next to that entry.
The 25-year-old Dorrell referred to “5-6 gifts” during her interview with Long, according to the notes. There are references to candy gifts and “tamales,” possibly the candy Hot Tamales. Long also talked with Josh Morgan, an athletic department employee who was and may still be Dorrell’s fiance.
“Football gave her a bonus to get a car,” Morgan told Long, according to the notes. The purchase of the black Acura apparently came three days after she was hired.
Dorrell quit her job Tuesday and received $14,000 in what the school described only as a settlement payment.
According to Long, Petrino said he and Dorrell became friends while she held her former job as a fundraiser for the Razorback Foundation. Flight manifests show the two were on several flights to various events in February and March. He said the two remained close friends after the sexual relationship apparently ended following a trip to Little Rock in early February.
Long wrote a detailed list of contract violations Petrino had committed before meeting with the former coach to discuss them. He included in his notes that he was still looking for Petrino to remain the Arkansas coach, despite those violations, and asked Petrino to “help me understand why these are not violations of your contract.”