Cincinnati announced Monday it has hired Louisville coach Scott Satterfield to take over as its next football coach. The Bearcats have been in search of a new leader after Luke Fickell left to take over as coach at Wisconsin.
"I am honored to be the next head coach at the University of Cincinnati and am looking forward to building on the winning tradition this program has had over the last 20 years," Satterfield said. "My family and I have admired this university and athletic department from afar for many years. I'm excited to take Cincinnati into the Big 12 this fall and ready to compete for championships. I'm most looking forward to meeting the current team and beginning to build relationships with these young men. We will hit the ground running today. Go Bearcats!"
Satterfield was 25-24 in four years leading the Cardinals, including a 7-5 record in 2022. That record included a four-game winning streak in the middle of the season including a win over then-No. 10 Wake Forest, but lost two of their last three games including a 26-13 loss to rival Kentucky on Nov. 26. They earned a berth in the Fenway Bowl where they will take on, ironically, Cincinnati.
"Scott Satterfield is a proven winner, a relentless competitor and a culture builder," Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham said. "He's an innovative offensive mind and a leader who develops men on and off the field. He's the perfect fit to grow this program and lead us into the Big 12 next season and beyond."
Prior to his stint with the Cardinals, Satterfield went 51-24 in six seasons at Appalachian State (2013-18) where he led the Mountaineers through a transition from FCS to FBS and the Sun Belt Conference.
What does Satterfield's hire mean for Cincinnati and Louisville?
Power Five experience will help
Satterfield has Power Five experience and has managed a massive conference transition in the past, both of which are very important as Cincinnati will move from the AAC to the Big 12 for the 2023 season.
He jumped into a pressure cooker in the ACC in 2019, posted a relatively solid 8-5 record and had a road win on the road against then-No. 19 Wake Forest. The Cardinals finished 5-3 within conference play, which was good enough for a second-place finish in the Atlantic division. Satterfield developed into a solid recruiter as well. His 2023 class is currently ranked No. 19 overall in the 247Sports recruiting rankings and includes 5-star running back Rueben Owens out of El Campo (Texas) High School -- the No. 20 overall player in the current recruiting cycle.
That experience will be helpful for the Bearcats as they move into a new era.
Will the real Satterfield please stand up?
Satterfield was hired by the Cardinals with the hopes of creating a dynamic offense that would force ACC teams into shootouts. That didn't happen. They didn't finish higher than seventh in the conference in scoring offense or fifth in the conference in total offense over the last three years despite having a dual-threat stud at quarterback in Malik Cunningham. That, despite finishing in the top three in scoring offense in the Sun Belt every year during his time with the Mountaineers since he led the transition to FBS in 2014.
Cincinnati is banking on Satterfield to recapture the magic that made him an offensive superstar rather than the lack of magic that existed at Louisville.
Satterfield's last season at Louisville was a roller coaster.
He entered the season on one of the hottest seats in the country, started the season 2-3 and dropped below .500 with a 34-33 loss to lowly Boston College. The Cardinals then ripped off four straight wins and made an appearance at No. 25 in the College Football Playoff Rankings in Week 13. They lost two of their last three, including a 26-13 defeat to rival Kentucky. That loss was the most concerning. Satterfield was 0-3 against the Wildcats. The two teams didn't play during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
Satterfield was going to enter the 2023 season on the hot seat again. Getting the Cincinnati job is a great landing spot and, arguably, a step-up considering the recent success of the Bearcats and the forthcoming move to the Big 12.