Cincinnati football hires Louisville’s Scott Satterfield. Didn’t see that one coming.

Nell Redmond/AP

Talk about a Monday morning jolt to get the week started.

In a move no one saw coming, Scott Satterfield is leaving Louisville to be the next head football coach at Cincinnati, succeeding Luke Fickell, who left the Bearcats for Wisconsin.

ESPN’s Pete Thamel reports Satterfield has agreed to a six-year contract with Cincinnati. An official announcement is expected at 1 p.m.

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Here’s the kicker: Louisville and Cincinnati are to play each other in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl on Dec. 17 at Fenway Park in Boston.

That Satterfield would leave Louisville is unsurprising. Just 25-24 in four seasons, he had occupied a hot seat in the River City. The coach, who turns 50 on Dec. 21, was on thin ice after a slow start to the 2022 season before finishing 7-5. He was 0-3 against in-state rival Kentucky. And his dalliance with South Carolina and denials about interest in that job before the Gamecocks hired Shane Beamer did not sit well with the U of L fan base.

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The hiring is a total surprise for Cincinnati, who had gone 57-18 in six seasons under Fickell, including a berth in the 2021 College Football Playoff. Many expected UC to promote an assistant from Fickell’s staff, possibly defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, or attempt to woo highly regarded Ohio State wide receivers coach Brian Hartline to Cincinnati.

As a North Carolina native who went 51-24 in six seasons at Appalachian State, his alma mater, Satterfield proved an uncomfortable geographic fit for Louisville. There were rumblings his family did not particularly enjoy the city. Now Satterfield is leaving the ACC for the Big 12, a conference Cincinnati is scheduled to officially join next season.

And Louisville is in the market for a new football coach.

“We’re grateful to Scott for his dedication to our program and wish him well,” said Louisville Athletics Director Josh Heird in a statement released Monday morning. “We are always prepared to conduct head coaching searches, and we will begin a national search immediately to identify our next head coach. We will be looking for a tremendous leader who recognizes both the history and potential of Louisville Football and is committed long-term to helping the program reach new heights.”

Satterfield’s record at Louisville:

  • 2019: 8-5 overall, 5-3 in ACC and Music City Bowl

  • 2020: 4-7 overall, 3-7 in ACC

  • 2021: 6-7 overall, 4-4 in ACC, First Responder Bowl

  • 2022: 7-5 overall, 4-4 in ACC, Fenway Bowl

Satterfield’s games against Kentucky:

  • 2019: Lost 45-13 at Kroger Field

  • 2021: Lost 52-21 at Cardinal Stadium

  • 2022: Lost 26-13 at Kroger Field

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