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Dear Coach Satterfield

NCAA Football: Louisville at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Coach Satterfield,

As I am writing this, the time is approaching midnight and you just coached our beloved Louisville Cardinals to a win over NC State and bowl eligibility. I wanted to wait to write this, but I can’t. There is too much excitement from that game and the season to this point. You may never see this, and that’s fine. But on behalf of all Louisville fans, I just wanted to say this: Thank you.

Now before I go on, I must say that while this is written to you, this is also meant for your entire staff. We know first-hand here that a head coach needs a competent staff to succeed, and you certainly have that. Your guys are active and engaging on social media and let us know they are normal people. They get the guys fired up before the game. They look like they are ready to go into battle with them in the trenches. We love it.

But back to my original point. I mean it when I say, “thank you”. You left your alma mater and a very good program on the rise to come to some random place like Louisville, Kentucky and take over a program that just went 2-10 and was one of the worst Power 5 teams in history (statistically). You didn’t have to do that. You could have stayed in Boone and continued to build the program that you loved in the town that you loved. And those folks obviously love you. It’s so rare to see a coach leave a program and that team’s fans still be so supportive of that coach rather than just feeling betrayed and bitter. Trust me, we have felt the latter many times. I have kept up with much more Appalachian State games than I ever have before and I root for them just because I know you and your family are doing the same and those people there mean a lot to you. You took a chance and left the nest to come here, not truly knowing what would happen. Thank you for taking that chance on this program.

You showed the players right away that they are people and should be cared about. The talent was there, but their passion was not. It had been taken away from them. They needed confidence, someone to believe in them. It’s a lot easier to take “tough coaching” when you know the guy yelling at you will also put his arm around you and say he loves you. You did that. Those same guys that went 2-10 last season look like a totally different football team. And I certainly don’t just mean by the results on the field. That part is obvious with the 6-4 record. There is dancing and jumping up and down on the sidelines. Smiles. Fun. Things we have not seen on those sidelines since probably 2013 or so. And we can do a whole post on the locker room celebrations. There is always that debate on what kind of coach is best: the tough one that yells a lot or the nice guy that the players like. You have shown that you can be both. Love the guys and they will love you back and play hard for you. Thank you for boosting these players up.

Thank you for not taking it personal that someone else may have been the top choice for this job. It would have been easy for you to use that against us and to continue to hold out for a job closer to home in the Carolinas. All things happen for a reason. The person that we thought was the best and natural fit for our program decided he was not, and he couldn’t have been more correct. You are the best and natural fit and exactly what this program needed at this time. You could have been bitter and said “Oh, you didn’t want me first? Screw you guys.” You didn’t say that. Thank you for being above that.

I am 33 years old and have been going to games since I was just a few months old. No, really. I was born in May and my mom was taking me to games that next season. I have seen a lot of good Louisville football. I have also sat through some miserable seasons of 1-10, 4-8, and 2-10. You already know this, but last year was flat out dreadful. I found myself going to games just to spend time with my mom and friends that I sit with. Of course I was supporting the team, but after about a half of the game, there wasn’t much to watch. It was not a fun stadium to be in. It was embarrassing. But all I know is going to the games, so I continued to go and sit through it.

It’s not that way anymore. Even in the losses, this team is competitive and shows fight. It’s a program that we are all proud to cheer for and be a part of. Following those records I mentioned earlier, those seasons of 1-10, 4-8, and 2-10, they all felt like rock bottom. None of those times were fun. But that ride back up was/is a blast. We can now say we went to a bowl game after all three of those seasons. John L and Charlie took us in their first seasons that followed an awful year. Last year was miserable. Thank you for making Louisville football fun again.

I’ll wrap this up now. There was no plan with this or direction. I just sat down shortly after the NC State game ended and started typing what came to mind. Like I said, you may never read this. Your staff may never read this. And that’s alright. I had to speak this appreciation into existence. There are a lot of us that are really passionate about Louisville football and it’s a major part of our lives. When the program struggles, we struggle. When it succeeds, life is more enjoyable. Satterdays are a blast.

So to you and your staff and all of your families (because we all feel like we know them too) for taking a chance on the city of Louisville and the University of Louisville, thank you.

Justin Renck

P.S. Feel free to go ahead and win these last two games as well. Totally acceptable.