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Cincinnati hires Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield to usher in Big 12 transition

Satterfield leaves Louisville for Cincinnati, just 12 days before the programs renew their rivalry in the Fenway Bowl.

NCAA Football: James Madison at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Eight days after losing Luke Fickell, the winningest head coach in program history, Cincinnati found its new guy to usher in the team’s transition from the American Athletic Conference to the Big 12.

Cincinnati announced the hiring of Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield to the same position Monday morning. Satterfield will be the 43rd head coach of the program.

Satterfield was largely responsible for turning Appalachian State into a Sun Belt powerhouse after the program’s transition to the FBS. After joining the FBS ranks in 2014, he posted a 47-16 record in five seasons in Boone and won the first three bowl games in school history. Satterfield was hired at Louisville prior to the start of the 2019 season and inherited a team with a 2-10 record. He immediately turned the Cardinals to 8-5 in his first year at the helm, defeating Mississippi State in the 2019 Music City Bowl. Following a pair of losing seasons, Satterfield returned to above .500 territory this year with a 7-5 record. He leaves Louisville after four seasons, compiling a 25-24 standing with the Cardinals.

The head coaching hire becomes especially interesting considering Cincinnati is slated to play Louisville in the 2022 Fenway Bowl. The Fenway Bowl is the third bowl game to kick off in this year’s slate and transpires on Saturday, Dec. 17 at Fenway Field in Boston. One interesting quip about this never-before-played bowl game is that both teams will share the same sideline due to the structure of the baseball stadium. It’s also worth mentioning Cincinnati vs. Louisville was an intense rivalry during their shared Big East membership, and the teams compete for the trophy known as the Keg of Nails. This will be the first matchup between the programs separated by 100 miles since 2013.

Satterfield will probably not be present on the shared sideline, however, as the game is likely to be a matchup between interim head coaches. Cincinnati named cornerbacks/special teams coach Kerry Coombs as the interim on Nov. 27, and Louisville has yet to name its Fenway Bowl coach as of Monday morning.

Despite cycling through four head coaches since 2007, takers of the Cincinnati job typically witness plenty of success. Three of the last four coaches have (1) finished in the final AP Top 25, (2) won a bowl game, and (3) earned double-digit wins — all in the same season. Fickell and Brian Kelly both qualified for multiple BCS/New Year’s Six bowl bids and would have qualified for a 12-team playoff in the upcoming format set to launch in 2024.

Cincinnati program, soon to be led by a first-year head coach in Satterfield, will officially receive Big 12 membership on July 1, 2023.