By Spencer Laws
In a surprise move that brings many long-term fans a familiar sense of deja vu, Louisville football head coach Scott Satterfield is moving on from the program to go north to the University of Cincinnati.
Big morning news
It was reported Monday morning by multiple sources, starting Cincinnati Enquirer’s Keith Jenkins, that Scott Satterfield had accepted a six-year deal to become the next head football coach at the University of Cincinnati.
The Cincinnati job had been open after their previous coach Luke Fickell accepted the University of Wisconsin head position this past November. According to his contract, the buyout Cincinnati had to pay was $3.5 million.
This move seems very much unforeseen and sudden, with Satterfield and his team picking up a lot of momentum in the second half of this season. They finished 7-5 after starting 2-3, including defeating No. 10 Wake Forest and No. 25 NC State.
Multiple players and coaches were surprised by the whirlwind move across social media. “I literally just woke up,” defensive lineman Selah Brown posted.
“Coach Satterfield’s heart was never in the Ville; he was trying to leave after year one. My son has been at Louisville for five years, and I never spoke with the guy. He never built a relationship with parents or players,” Xavier Abdullah, father of star linebacker Yassir tweeted.
Consistency in the wrong areas
Satterfield’s time at Louisville was filled with inconsistency in the team’s performance, with the only consistent being the predictable play calling. The whole city could see when the run play coming in long yardage situations.
In the 3 games against in-state rival Kentucky during the Governor’s Cup rivalry, it was a loss each time. In 2019, the Cards put up an embarrassing 45-13 loss; Lynn Bowden and the Wildcats ran all over the Cards, racking up 517 rushing yards.
Covid held off the 2020 match, so following in 2021 the Cards endured another 52-21 loss- this time, Will Levis and Chris Rodriguez Jr. combined for 234 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
The latest thrashing took place not long ago on the 26th. Another 26-13 loss- although, Satterfield was without starting QB Malik Cunningham.
Questions We Have
A lot of question marks rose from this move, most importantly: what does this do to the impressive top 20 recruiting class of ‘23?
A few of these players are set to enroll early and hit campus next spring, including #1 ranked running back in the class, Reuben Owens. Other players- four-star dual-threat quarterback Pierce Clarkson, and four-star offensive lineman Madden Sanker are also reporting for the spring semester.
A personal question I have is where would Satterfield be if he didn’t have Malik Cunningham over the last four seasons?
Satterfield’s best player during his time here is a guy that fell into his lap when he accepted the job. As this situation continues to unfold, you have to wonder how successful would Satterfield have been without a playmaker as good as Cunningham.
A lot of the wins and surprising success Satterfield has had here are due to players that he had no part in recruiting. If you remember, Satterfield’s arrival in 2019 was preceded by former head coach Bobby Petrino’s second stint. Petrino was fired in 2018, with the university buying out the rest of his 14.1 million dollar contract.
And of course, the big one on everyone’s mind: Who is on the slate to coach U of L football next?
The overwhelming majority of the fans have put current Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm at the top of their wishlist.
Brohm is finishing up his sixth season in West Lafayette and reached a bowl game in 4 of those seasons. He most notably picked up an impressive overtime win against Tennessee in last year’s Music City Bowl and is also coming off the program’s first Big Ten championship appearance.
Brohm is 3-1 against top 5 ranked opponents, demonstrating that he has the ability to coach alongside the best in the country.
Where the program goes from here
Whoever Athletic Director Josh Heird hires for the job will have their hands full next season, beginning with the hole left in the quarterback position post-Malik Cunningham.
Heird released the following statement this morning:
“We’re grateful to Scott for his dedication to our program and wish him well. We are always prepared to conduct head coaching searches, and we will begin a national search immediately to identify our next head coach. We will be looking for a tremendous leader who recognizes both the history and potential of Louisville Football and is committed long-term to helping the program reach new heights.”
Heird has had his hands full over his short stint as AD so far. He first dealt with Chris Mack and the University mutually parting ways, which resulted in hiring Kenny Payne. He is now set to begin the search again.
Bowl Bound…but coaching both teams?
Ironically, the Cards face off against Satterfield’s new landing spot, the University of Cincinnati in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl on December 17th at 11 A.M. ET.
Super Bowl MVP and Louisville alumni Deion Branch will serve as interim head coach.
Photo Courtesy // Spencer Laws, The Louisville Cardinal //