Report: Klenakis to join Petrino at Louisville
January 9, 2014
Chris Klenakis is packing his bags once again.
After arriving on campus at Iowa State last year, the ex-Greenwave football coach is moving to Kentucky to rejoin his former coach from when they worked together at Arkansas. Klenakis will become the offensive line coach at Louisville of the American Atlantic Conference (formally Big East), according to various reports, under new head coach Bobby Petrino, who last season led Western Kentucky to an 8-4 record after being fired at Arkansas. Petrino, who left Louisville in 2006 for the NFL, replaces Charlie Strong, who was named the head coach at Texas earlier this week.
Klenakis and Petrino coached together from 2010 to 2012 at Arkansas, helping the Razorbacks produce one of the best offenses in the country as well as one of the top quarterbacks when Ryan Mallett led the team to the Sugar Bowl in 2010.
The Razorbacks led the SEC in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense in 2011 with Tyler Wilson at quarterback during Petrino’s final season before being fired after a motorcycle crash and scandal involving an affair with his student-athlete development coordinator.
But Arkansas wasn’t the first time Petrino and Klenakis worked together. The two were both at Nevada in 1994 when Petrino was Chris Ault’s offensive coordinator. Although two years apart in age, both Petrino and Klenakis also played football at Carroll College in Montana.
Arkansas hired former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema last year, who then brought in his own staff, leaving Klenakis in need of work. He didn’t have to wait too long as he became the offensive line coach at Iowa State, a member of the Big 12.
Klenakis’ knowledge of the Pistol offense, which he helped create with Ault after the 2004 season, helped the Cyclones this past season while the Razorbacks ran the modified shotgun formation occasionally under Petrino. Iowa State finished 3-9 this season but ended the year on a two-game winning streak, including a victory over West Virginia.
Klenakis, though, was in the running to become the head coach at Nevada after Ault retired 13 months ago but was passed up as Brian Polian became Ault’s successor and guided the Wolf Pack to a 4-8 record last season.
Klenakis, though, has not been an offensive coordinator since his time at Nevada when he was also the offensive line coach from 2004 to 2009. He was also the assistant coach from 1990 to 1996 before becoming the offensive coordinator from 1997 to 1999. Klenakis spent several seasons at Southern Miss and Central Missouri before coming back to the Silver State to help create the Pistol 10 years ago.
Klenakis began his coaching career with the Greenwave, leading the team to multiple playoff berths in the late 1980s before joining the Wolf Pack coaching staff.