The Louisville head coach wants to be more up front and addressed his interview with South Carolina.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As Louisville prepares to wrap up its regular season against Wake Forest, Scott Satterfield had much more to address than a game at his weekly Monday news conference. Instead, he started with an explanation and apology for his interview with South Carolina last weekend, which he and UofL athletics director Vince Tyra have called a “conversation.”
“I do want to apologize to the fans out there,” Satterfield said. “I understand what has transpired here in the past, particularly with the head football job. I do apologize for that and it was never my intention to hurt anyone with that. I put myself in your shoes and I would think the same thing. ‘Why would he want to listen to another opportunity?’ Well, I think it came down to location and then after talking, we have a great job. We have a passionate fan base. And I love the fact that they’re passionate.”
Satterfield, who spent 23 years as a player and coach at Appalachian State in North Carolina, said the Gamecocks’ proximity to his parents and his familiarity with the Carolinas were the only things that made him interested in the job.
“There really wasn’t a whole lot else really, quite honestly,” Satterfield said. “Where it’s located was the biggest factor.”
The North Carolina native reaffirmed his commitment to making Louisville a top program, praising the school’s leadership. But if a school from the Carolinas approaches Satterfield again in the future, he did not deny that he would feel an obligation to talk to them.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that I wouldn’t,” Satterfield said. “If anything comes out of a job that opens up in the future, it will be handled a lot differently.”
Mainly, Satterfield wants to be more up front about any possible opportunities. He mentioned he has had multiple schools reach out to him in the past and described this situation as “a learning process.”
“If something in the future popped up, you better be very, very serious,” Satterfield said. “And it’s because I don’t want to put our fans, people, players or anybody through what’s transpired here over the last 48 hours. I’m not interested in doing that. I think it is going to have to be very, very serious and something you can be out front about.”
The second-year UofL head coach said South Carolina first approached him before Louisville’s loss to Boston College on Nov. 28. Satterfield responded to reports of this then with a tweet on Nov. 24 explaining he had not “pursued or sought out any offers” after Tyra told WHAS11 sports director Kent Spencer the coach didn’t have any plans to interview with South Carolina.
The Cardinals’ next game vs. Wake Forest then got moved to Dec. 12, meaning Louisville had a bye week after its loss to the Eagles. That’s when Satterfield said the Gamecocks came back to talk to him again. He refused to answer if he notified Tyra that he’d be listening to what they had to say.
“The conversations that we have had are obviously between us, an AD and a head coach,” Satterfield said. “So I’ll just leave it at that.”
“I feel as good about Scott’s abilities as the day we hired him,” Tyra said on Dec. 5. “We have invested a great deal in our facilities, staff and fan experience to put our program in a position for sustained success. As a long-time fan and the current AD at Louisville, I understand the history behind our fans’ trust issue with football coaches. Rightly so. I am disappointed that Scott had a conversation with another program, but I’m comfortable that we have an agreeable path forward.”
Satterfield, like any college coach, often preaches commitment to his players. But when asked about how he balances that message to his team while entertaining other jobs, he said he believes there’s a difference between players and coaches.
“Sometimes, we like to lump coaches in with players,” Satterfield said. “As a player, you’re there for three to four years and then you’re done. As players, you really don’t have a family. It’s just you. And as coaches, I’m just thinking in general terms here, coaches have wives and kids.”
“It’s hard as a player to go to class, to get up and go to meetings, go to weight training, go to practice, come back and study, oh and by the way, then go perform on game day. There’s just a lot of things that a player has to do and there’s so many different avenues pulling at them. So you have to be all in with it.
“As coaches, it’s a little bit different. You get a career in coaching, go back and look at any coach’s bio. I was at one school for a long time. And I would rather it be that way. I don’t like the fact that you pick up and move. That’s not who I am.”
He said he has been honest about this situation with his own recruits and players. Satterfield addressed it with the current group of Cardinals on Sunday.
“I shared my heart about how we love our guys and we’re going to do everything we can for these guys,” Satterfield said. “We got great facilities, we have a lot of great things, but we want to do a lot more with our program to continue to grow it. That’s kind of what I was sharing with them was we’re trying to do everything we can with this program to move it forward. There’s things that we need and want as we move forward to be the top program in the country.
“That’s what we’re striving to do and that mission has not changed. They were fired up and had a great practice. They went out and did some great things like we would normally do on a Sunday.”
Some Cardinals tweeted out their support for him on Monday night. Players like quarterback Malik Cunningham, wide receiver Tutu Atwell and defensive lineman Yaya Diaby all praised their coach.
And as they prepare for the Demon Deacons, Satterfield can only try to move forward. He thinks earning any trust back that’s been lost in Louisville, whether it’s with fans or anyone else, can come with working hard and being honest.
“I know everybody wants to win,” Satterfield said. “You got to put a product on the field that will be competitive and win football games. I think we’re bringing in a class that’s going to help us. I think I’ve always tried to be open and honest with everybody I’ve come in contact with. The fans don’t get to be around me or our staff on a daily basis in the building. But I think we try to be that way. I think we try to treat people with respect and we’ll continue to do that.”