Of all the things I have ever written or will potentially write pertaining to athletics at the University of Louisville, I hope this particular piece is THE ONE I can look back on one day knowing that it held up better than any before or after it.
Yesterday, as UofL fans watched with curious minds and hopeful hearts, Scott Satterfield took to the podium and spoke for the very first time as the new Head Football Coach at The University of Louisville. Satterfield comes to The Ville leaving a program in Appalachian State that is currently at the top of its game. On the flipside, he inherits a once proud ACC program that has fallen on times as hard as any it has experienced in the last 30+ years.
Regarding the program itself, my own personal Louisville Football fandom probably originated in or around the early 1990’s - the same approximate time that the Cards pummeled Alabama to win the 1991 Fiesta Bowl. And since that time, I have witnessed more ups and downs associated with UofL Football than a roller coaster enthusiast could find at Cedar Point. But when focusing just on the lows, this past football season took the cake as I saw things associated with a once proud and successful program that I literally had never seen before.
Nevertheless, rehashing the nightmare that was the 2018 UofL Football season would prove to be futile at this point. Everyone reading this piece knows, in layman terms, how and why things turned as sour as a bowl of fresh lemons.
But as you’ve heard a million times before, “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.”
Or, in the case of Louisville Football, you don’t make lemonade but instead entrust your school’s athletic director to go out and make the sweetest deal possible in finding a new head coach.
Welp, mission accomplished. Job well done (again), Vince Tyra.
By hiring Scott Satterfield as UofL’s 23rd (if you count Petrino twice) head football coach, Tyra has taken the first massive step toward a program rebuilding project that some argue could take up to 3 or 4 years to gain positive momentum. After carefully looking back at what Satterfield accomplished during his stint as the head man at Appalachian State and listening intently to his introductory press conference yesterday, I’m not convinced it will take that long.
Satterfield appears on all levels to be humble and genuine. The folks that have worked the closest with him during his previous gig have all been consistent in saying that he’s a winner, a class act and a guy who will get results.
Sign me up for a whole lot of that!
On Tuesday afternoon, Satterfield spoke at length about how the players on his teams compete for one another. He also touched on how negativity can have such a profound effect on a football program. But aside from all the clichés and coach speak which I still believed to have been authentic, there was one thing about his press conference that really stood out for me – Scott Satterfield appears to be a guy who WANTS to be at Louisville.
I will not call out by name the head football coach who, as a former Cardinal QB and assistant coach, turned down a probable chance of a lifetime to coach at UofL in the same vein that Ohio State players & coaches refuse to say the word “Michigan” the week leading up to their annual rivalry game w/the Wolverines. BUT, it’s undeniable that UofL learned a valuable lesson in offering said head football coach the job, and along with it the kitchen sink.
As the old saying goes, “If you spend too long holding on to the one who treats you like an option, you’ll miss finding the one who treats you like a priority.”
Thankfully, time was on Vince Tyra’s side. After a hiccup in the middle of last week, he rebounded with poise and patience much like his late father, Charlie, did in the 1956 N.I.T. finals and landed a coach that sees Louisville as a priority – a place he wants to be and a program he intends to resurrect.
The black cloud that has seemingly been hanging over the Louisville Football program since the moment James Quick came up a yard or two short at getting that first down at Clemson appears, for the first time, to be slowly migrating. The injection of new faces, fresh ideas, accountability, discipline and a culture focused on selflessness and winning is exactly what the Cardinal program was in dire need of and that’s precisely what it will be getting in the years to come.
To the Cardinal Football fans I plead the following:
● Give Coach Satterfield the time he and his staff will need to clean up a monumental mess
● Don’t judge him based on the conference (Sun Belt) from which he comes from but instead judge his on the field results & the development of his players from one year to the next
● Embrace him and his family and show them why the city of Louisville is a great place to live
● Let bygones be bygones be letting go of the vitriol, dismay & disappointment you had for the previous coaching regime and the coach who chose to stay at another school
● Refrain from comparing Scott Satterfield to Steve Kragthorpe & allow our new coach to prove he’s the winner and natural born leader I believe in my heart that he is
So as we enter Day 2 of the Satterfield era at UofL, let us remain hopeful while also remaining patient and rational. The only clouds I foresee over the Louisville Football program going forward certainly aren’t dark and they look to be ones that give way to rays of sunshine.
Keep the faith Card fans and welcome to Louisville Coach Satterfield! We’re behind you from start to finish!