(NEW YORK) — It’s the love affair Arkansas Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino hoped he would never have to talk about and which may ultimately cost him his job.
The 51-year-old, married, father of four, admits having a relationship with Jessica Dorrell, a university employee.
Petrino hired the tall, 25-year-old, former Arkansas volleyball player as his student athlete coordinator on March 28.
But secret began to unravel at a news conference Tuesday, when Petrino showed up with a bruised face, bruised ribs and broken vertebra and told the story of how a mystery woman helped save him after a motorcycle accident.
“When I came out of the ditch there was a lady there that had flagged down a car and the guy that was in the passenger seat said, ‘Get in, we’ll just take you right to the hospital,'” Petrino said.
Petrino said he took his motorcycle for a spin near Fayetteville and lost control and ended up in a ditch.
Petrino initially told University officials he was by himself at the time of the crash, and that a couple stopped and helped him get to a hospital.
When he learned the police report would be released, he quickly changed his story.
Petrino now says Dorrell was his passenger on the motorcycle.
In a statement, Petrino said his concern was to “protect his family and a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public.”
“In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details. Today, I’ve acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration…” the statement said.
That mistake may put Petrino’s job in jeopardy.
“I informed Coach that given this information I was going to put him on administrative leave while I take the time necessary to review this personnel matter,” said Jeff Long, vice chancellor and director of athletics at the University of Arkansas.
Dorrell is reportedly engaged to be married to the Razorbacks swim director.
Arkansas State Police are also investigating a police captain who stopped to help Petrino after the crash.
That captain also worked private security detail for the coach on his time off.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chloe Melas, CNN
David Goldman, CNN
Chandrika Narayan, CNN