And you thought the 2021 coaching carousel was crazy. Wait until you hear about the most remarkable coaching carousel story of all time, more remarkable than Lincoln Riley going to USC and Brian Kelly leaving Notre Dame for LSU on back-to-back days. This one tops them both. What’s more: It could help Riley and USC in a very big way.
Imagine that a coach who had already flirted with another program a few years ago doggedly tries to remain on the job at School A. He gets onto the hot seat but coaches his way out of it.
Then he bails.
More than that, he not only bails; he goes to the school which is playing School A in a bowl game in just 12 days. He coaches School A on Nov. 26. He then leaves for School B on Dec. 5, just before coaching in a bowl game between School A and School B on Dec. 17.
That could never, ever happen … or at least, not until December of 2022. It really has happened. Again, USC could benefit.
We’ll lay out this true story below, and what it might mean for the Trojans and Lincoln Riley:
Scott Satterfield, the Louisville head coach, flirted with the South Carolina job a few years ago before Shane Beamer got the job. Satterfield was winding up his second season at Louisville in 2020. He had to apologize to the Louisville fan base for how he conducted himself.
Satterfield had a good first season at Louisville in 2019, but 2020 did not go well. That added to the bafflement among UL fans and college football observers when he was linked to some South Carolina rumors.
FOUR YEARS AGO
When Satterfield, who had a very successful tenure at Appalachian State, was hired by Louisville after the 2018 season, many felt the Cardinals had made one of the best hires of that coaching cycle. Satterfield was viewed as a coach who could make Louisville a top-tier contender in the ACC.
Louisville was not supposed to be a stepping-stone job for Satterfield. Remember that Bobby Petrino took Louisville to an ACC championship and an Orange Bowl victory, and then coached Lamar Jackson to the 2016 Heisman Trophy. This is also part of the backdrop to the Satterfield story.
LOUISVILLE TURMOIL AND INSTABILITY
Louisville has gone through a burnout cycle with Bobby Petrino, whose second stint at the school did not last long after a previous go-round in the early and mid-2000s.
The Cardinals are also watching their basketball program collapse under first-year head coach Kenny Payne, after Chris Mack’s tenure crashed and burned, and after Rick Pitino left the program drowning in scandal and disgrace years earlier. Louisville fans were emotionally exhausted on many levels entering the 2022 season, and things are only becoming more complicated, not less.
2022 HOT SEAT
Satterfield and Louisville were buried in Week 1 by Syracuse. Louisville lost to Florida State when the Seminoles’ top quarterbacks were hurt. UL then lost to lowly Boston College. Satterfield was definitely on the hot seat this year.
He was able to coach his way out of trouble, however, by beating Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, James Madison, and North Carolina State.
It seemed his position was secure. It seemed he had coached like a man who wanted to stay at Louisville.
Satterfield agreed to become Cincinnati’s new head coach on Monday, replacing Luke Fickell.
New University of Cincinnati head football coach Scott Satterfield speaks during a press conference at the University of Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. Satterfield holds a 76-48 record as a head coach at the University of Louisville and Appalachian State.
FENWAY BOWL INSANITY
Satterfield went from Louisville to Cincinnati.
Guess which two teams play in the first-ever Fenway Bowl, played on Dec. 17 in Fenway Park? You guessed it: Louisville and Cincinnati. It’s unreal.
And that’s not all, either. Consider what will happen when Satterfield’s new team and his former team gather to play the game inside the famous baseball park:
FENWAY BOWL LAYOUT
When Louisville and Cincinnati meet in the Fenway Bowl on Dec. 17 — with Scott Satterfield presumably coaching Cincinnati, and not the Louisville team he had coached as recently as Nov. 26 — the teams will share the same sideline. This presumably will put Satterfield just a few yards from his former team and players in a bowl game! This is absolutely unheard of in college football history (certainly the part about one coach being involved in a bowl game with one team three weeks after leaving his bowl game opponent).
— Jim Reineking (@jimreineking) August 17, 2017
ONE MORE BOWL PLOT TWIST
Louisville’s interim coach for this game played in Boston is none other than Deion Branch, a former Super Bowl MVP with the New England Patriots. He comes back to Boston as an interim coach in a bowl game. He will be standing mere yards from Satterfield during the game, unless Satterfield chooses not to coach in that game.
This is simply too much to process in one sitting, but it’s all true!
Now we get to the heart of this story as it relates to USC.
Louisville has to wonder who its next coach will be. That point aside, some players are almost certain to transfer now that it is guaranteed that the program will undergo yet another big change.
ONE STORY TO WATCH
— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) December 5, 2022
TRANSFER PORTAL CLASS OF 2022
Louisville’s 2022 portal class was ranked 16th by 247Sports. Louisville was heavily involved in the NIL realm.
Will that 2022 group of transfers stay together, or split up? USC could swoop in here. It’s a real opportunity.
LOUISVILLE COACHING SEARCH
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm, who played at Louisville, is viewed as the obvious front-runner for the job. What that would mean for the retention of players is uncertain.
Purdue faces LSU and Brian Kelly in the Citrus Bowl.
In the end, I think Satterfield actually didn't make it weird at all.
He didn't win enough to make anyone overly upset about this, and he left in a manner and for a program that will result in him being universally despised here.
In his final act, the man was a unifier.
— Mike Rutherford (@CardChronicle) December 5, 2022
BREAKING BAD ALWAYS HAS A REACTION
THE STAFF WAS BLINDSIDED
Source confirms Scott Satterfield to #Cincinnati is a done deal. Sources said Satterfield told the #Louisville staff, who is out recruiting, of his plans earlier this morning. @MrKeithJenkins first reported Satterfield’s move.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) December 5, 2022
OR MAYBE SATTERFIELD DIDN'T EVEN TELL HIS STAFF
Assistant coach tells me he found out “an hour ago on Twitter.”
“I hate it because we would have stayed here forever.”
— Mike Rutherford (@CardChronicle) December 5, 2022
I had a lot of respect for that man for the sheer fact that he put me on scholarship and gave me a chance, but now 0️⃣
— Dayna K. Kinnaird (@DaynaKinnaird) December 5, 2022
Last thing I will say. When the South Carolina job rumors were floating around, he MADE US tweet about how well he was treating us good, but wouldn’t tell his players that he was leaving in person! He was NEVER honest with us!
— Dez Fitzpatrick (@dezfitz8) December 5, 2022
KENTUCKY COACH MARK STOOPS REACTS
Mark Stoops: "My head is very much spinning and I'm not sure it's stopped."
— John Clay (@johnclayiv) December 5, 2022
REMINDER: FOLLOW OUR NATIONAL TRANSFER TRACKER
UPDATE: LOUISVILLE O-LINEMAN ENTERS THE PORTAL ON WEDNESDAY MORNING
🚨BREAKING🚨 Louisville OL Luke Kandra has officially entered the NCAA transfer portal, per @josephcook89.
— On3 (@On3sports) December 7, 2022