By LARRY VAUGHT
LOUISVILLE — New Louisville coach Scott Satterfield knows that the first year can sometimes be difficult for any coach.
He still remembers when he took over at Appalachian State in 2013 — the same year the school moved up and transitioned into the Sun Belt Conference. His team went 4-8.
“Fans were probably wondering why did we hire this bum,” Satterfield said during a talk at the Louisville Quarterback Club Thursday. “The next year we went from 63 scholarship players to 85 but we still started out 1-4.
“That meant I was 5-12 and knew I might not last long. We went to Troy to play and I told my wife let’s just enjoy this season and then figure out the rest when it ends.”
Appalachian State won at Troy and went on to finish the season 7-5. The next year App State went 11-2 (7-1 Sun Belt) and won a bowl game. In 2016 Satterfield’s team finished 10-3, tied for first in the conference and won a bowl game. The record “dropped” to 9-4 in 2017 but that still included a conference title and bowl win. Last year Appalachian State tied for first in the conference again with a 10-2 overall mark.
Louisville was imploding last year under coach Bobby Petrino. The Cardinals finished 2-10 and did not win a ACC game while losing their final nine games. The Cards gave up 52 or more points in seven games, including the final five. The season ended with a 56-10 loss to Kentucky but by then Petrino had already been fired.
“I don’t want to start out 5-12 again but we are in a little bit of a transition here,” Satterfield said Thursday. “I really didn’t know what I was getting into. We were trying to win a conference championship (at App State). I didn’t know much about Louisville (when he was contacted about the job).
“I knew about the past great football teams and quarterbacks at Louisville. I didn’t know they gave up 50 or 60 points in five straight games or I would have stayed at Boone (N.C. at App State).”
He was joking — sort of. But between the players Louisville lost to graduation/transfer and then recruits that decommitted, Sattefield faces a major rebuilding job to restore the luster to the Louisville program.
“The good news is we have 10 starters back on defense. The bad news is we were not very good (last year). They got experience but it is bad experience,” Satterfield said. “These guys have scarred themselves and been through that crap (of a 2-10 season) and don’t want to do it again.”