What a strange situation, not only that Scott Satterfield ended up as the new coach of Cincinnati, but that his former team will be playing his current one in the Fenway Bowl.
On Dec. 17, Louisville and Cincinnati will clash at Fenway Park. It’s not exactly Yankees-Red Sox, but these schools, which are approximately 104 miles apart, now share a lot in common and it mainly has to do with Satterfield.
In 2016, he finished runner-up to Luke Fickell for the Cincinnati head coaching job. At the time, Satterfield was the head coach at Appalachian State.
After Fickell recently was named head coach at Wisconsin, Cincinnati hired Satterfield as his successor.
It seems natural that Cincinnati, which is entering the Power Five world when it joins the Big 12 Conference in the fall, hires a coach with P5 experience.
While Satterfield has the requite experience to guide Cincinnati from the American Athletic Conference to the Big 12, not all Cincinnati fans were rejoicing the move.
Satterfield has enjoyed a successful nine-year head coaching career, but the majority of the success came at Appalachian State, where he went 47-16 in his five years and guided Mountaineers to four bowl games and a win during the inaugural Sun Belt championship game in 2018.
His time in Louisville wasn’t as successful. Satterfield went 25-24. The Cardinals will have gone to bowl games in three of the seasons, counting the Fenway Bowl.
Yet, the best year was his first in 2019, when Satterfield was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year, leading the Cardinals to an 8-5 record. He had taken over a program that went 2-10 the previous year in the final season of Bobby Petrino’s second stint guiding the Cardinals.
And while Louisville showed great improvement during his first year, the Cardinals then had consecutive sub .500 seasons, 4-7, and then 6-7 before going 7-5 this year.
There were high hopes for this year’s team, but Louisville dropped three of its first five games – to Syracuse, Florida State, and Boston College.
Sensing it might have been slightly awkward if he showed up at the Fenway Bowl, Satterfield told Justin Williams of the Athletic, that he would not attend the game, opting to recruit instead.
One positive that has come out is that Cincinnati interim coach Kerry Combs, who will guide the Bearcats in the Fenway Bowl, will stay on the staff.
Cincinnati announced on Friday that Combs has signed a three-year deal to serve as secondary coach and special teams coordinator.
That keeps continuity to the staff for somebody who is apparently very popular among the players. He is a Cincinnati native who was a very successful high school coach in the area. He has also had two different stints as an assistant coach at both Cincinnati and Ohio State, along with being a former secondary coach of the Tennessee Titans.
Under his guidance this season, Cincinnati again had a top-flight secondary, along with one of the better special teams units in the country.
First-year starter Ja’Quan Sheppard became a first-team All-AAC at cornerback. Safety Ja’Von Hicks was a second-team selection.
Sophomore punter Mason Fletcher was named the AAC Special Teams Player of the year, ranking second nationally in net punting (44.69). The Bearcats were 14th in kick return defense, No. 17 in punt return defense, and No. 21 in punt return average.
Kicker Ryan Coe was a second-team selection.
Knowing the Cincinnati area, which has strong high school football is another major positive for Combs. In addition, it’s important that he keeps the current team together because it’s always stressful when a coaching change occurs.
So while Satterfield won’t see his old or his new team in Boston, Combs will, and Cincinnati has to feel fortunate he will not only be at the game but at the school for the foreseeable future.