'I'm honored': Cincinnati Bearcats introduce Scott Satterfield as next head football coach

The University of Cincinnati has found the head football coach who will lead the Bearcats into the Big 12 Conference.

Cincinnati Director of Athletics John Cunningham on Monday introduced Louisville's Scott Satterfield as the 43rd head coach in program history.

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"I have found the coach and program builder in Coach Satterfield," said Cunningham during an introductory news conference inside Fifth Third Arena."... Coach Satterfield wins and he wins the right way – with a student-centered approach. He is going to propel us into the Big 12."

Satterfield, donning a red tie and a C-Paw pinned to the lapel of his black suit, also wore a big smile as took the stage in front of his wife, Beth, and son, Isaac, one of their three kids.

"Man, what an honor it is for me to be here," Satterfield said. "It truly is. I mean, I'm honored to be a football coach, to be able to help mentor young men. Not a better place than to do it right here at the University of Cincinnati."

Satterfield led the Cardinals to a 7-5 record this season. Coincidentally, Cincinnati is scheduled to face Louisville in the inaugural Wasabi Fenway Bowl on Dec. 17 at Fenway Park in Boston. Satterfield addressed the obvious conflict, saying he will be removing himself from the bowl game entirely.

"Yeah, I'm staying away from that," he said. "I'm recruiting (and) I'm building out my staff. That is my total focus. I'm not doing anything with the bowl. I'm not doing any game-planning, I'm not doing any of that kind of stuff."

Scott Satterfield is 25-24 in four seasons at Louisville, including a 7-5 mark this season.
Scott Satterfield is 25-24 in four seasons at Louisville, including a 7-5 mark this season.

Satterfield said interim head coach Kerry Coombs, who severed as Cincinnati's cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator this season, will continue to lead the Bearcats' preparations for the bowl game.

Satterfield, an offensive-minded head coach with a background as a quarterback at Appalachian State, is 76-48 in 10 seasons as a head coach. He went 25-24 in four seasons at the helm of the Cardinals program. The 49-year-old Hillsborough, North Carolina, native went 51-24 in six seasons at Appalachian State. Five of those seasons were in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Satterfield became the first coach to lead a school from the Football Championship Subdivision level to FBS in 2014 when then-FCS Appalachian State joined the Sun Belt Conference. Satterfield said he'll pull from that experience as he leads Cincinnati into the Power Five. The Bearcats are set to leave the American Athletic Conference and join the Big 12 on July 1, 2023.

"It's all new," he said. "We're going to be playing a bunch of new teams that we haven't really faced. We've got to do a great job of getting into the film and really studying these teams, because you've got to get a feel and a flavor for the style of play that happens in the Big 12. (There's) a lot of talented teams. But it still comes down to your fundamentals, playing smart football and also the kind of players that you have playing for you. I don't care what league that is."

Scott Satterfield was introduced as the new head coach for the University of Cincinnati football team at Fifth Third Arena on Monday.
Scott Satterfield was introduced as the new head coach for the University of Cincinnati football team at Fifth Third Arena on Monday.

Satterfield, who was named the Sun Belt Coach of the Year in 2018 and earned Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2019, agreed to a six-year deal with Cincinnati that will pay him $3.4 million in the first year with an annual raise of $100,000, according to the university. Satterfield will receive an assistant coach staff salary pool of $7.25 million, making the total compensation $10.65 million per year for the football coaching staff. Cincinnati described it as its "highest investment ever" in the football staff.

"It came together quickly and it happened very fast," Satterfield said of his deal with the university.

Satterfield replaces Luke Fickell, the winningest coach in the history of the Cincinnati program. Fickell left to take the vacancy at Wisconsin on Nov. 27 after leading the Bearcats to a 57-18 record in six seasons.

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Fickell led Cincinnati to back-to-back AAC championships in 2020 and 2021. Fickell's Bearcats became the first Group of Five team to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff last season.

It will cost Cincinnati $3.5 million to buy out Satterfield from Louisville, according to Satterfield's contract with the Cardinals. Fickell's buyout when he left Cincinnati for Wisconsin was $3.5 million.

The timing of the Satterfield hire coincides with the opening of the transfer portal, which opened Monday.

The first day of the early signing period for Class of 2023 recruits is Dec. 21. That's when recruits can begin to sign their national letters of intent. Several players from Cincinnati's 2023 recruiting class decommitted from the program following Fickell's departure.

Satterfield said he will make recruiting locally a priority.

"Cincinnati high school football is unbelievable," he said. "And so is the state of Ohio. It's one of the best states in the whole country. So we've got to stake down this area right here. We've got to comb these high schools. I've got to hire people in this staff that will be able to go out and already have those relationships. That's going to be a top priority for us."

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Scott Satterfield introduced as Cincinnati Bearcats football coach