Cardinal Football

T.N.C.E.: Trust No Coach Ever

Neil Young | AP Photo

This week was certainly a doozy for Cards fans. What week hasn’t been in this extended fever dream that is 2020?

The basketball team beat Western Kentucky handily and then promptly got an outbreak of COVID and had to cancel Friday’s matchup against UNC Greensboro. They still won the Wade Houston Tip-off Classic, but then it was announced Friday that the NCAA is issuing their response to Louisville response to their FBI allegations on Monday.

But for those football fans who thought they could dodge all the bullets until the Wake Forest game on December 12th, Saturday morning came around and everybody caught a sawed-off shotgun blast to the face.

After (kinda) denying any interest in the South Carolina job last weekend, it was confirmed by multiple outlets that football head coach Scott Satterfield had in fact interviewed for the gig this past Friday.

Following this were reports that he wanted a new contract with Louisville, a move that would look great for an athletic department that laid off dozens of people earlier this year.

Past that the rumor mill churns on overdrive and it’s hard to determine fact from fiction, but one this is gospel through this whole episode: Cards fans are PISSED.

Some are upset, but many have reverted to the resignation that Louisville followers have become so acclimated to over the years.

There was Charlie Strong bugging off to Texas. John L Smith pulling up stakes and hightailing it to Michigan State. And who could forget the daily soap opera was both incarnations of Bobby Petrino.

I, too, have felt that pain. I, too, have become desensitized. And so I wanted to share a little mantra I came up with around the Charlie Strong era.

T.N.C.E.: Trust No Coach Ever

(I know it’s not particularly original, whatever.)

College football coaching is a an utterly unique job in this country today. They’re not so much coaches anymore as captains on massive trade barges with unpaid labor manning the oars as they ship billions of dollars into the coffers of universities, athletic departments and conferences, media corporations and the hulking, diseased, unholy leviathan that is the NCAA.

Thus, they are installed as lords over their own fiefdoms. They are almost universally the most highly-paid people at their schools if not entire states.

Losses mean little and sins are quickly forgiven  in the world of college coaching. Hugh Freeze left the Ole Miss program a smoking ruin littered with NCAA violations in 2017 and barely three years later is getting national tv spots as the coach of Liberty and is maybe a season away from the short list of every coaching vacancy.

And worst of all, they can move at will, jumping around from program to program earning millions of dollars while players they recruited and ostensibly lied to are stuck earning no money in football program that may not have any use for them anymore.

Football coaches are different on so many levels, and thus must be treated differently. That includes your favorite coach. And that one guy (yes, even him).

And even Scott Satterfield.

They should not be trusted because they are not in the business of being trusted. They are in the business of making money for themselves and their bosses, with or without winning football games.

They seduce, cajole and do everything to woo recruits to their teams; only to turn around and berate them for every flaw when they actually get in pads.

When a coach says they are 100% committed to program and hasn’t even thought about leaving, that’s practically a death knell for heir tenure at the current school.

Did Satterfield, as reports suggest, want to be closer to his family and friends in the Carolinas? Did he want to leverage potential interest into a more lucrative contract with the Cards? Did he simply get tired of simply get tired of the nightmare levels of pollen and find that the quality of the tap water was not nearly as high as he was led to believe?

Whatever the real reason was, it has ceased to matter. The damage has been and may never get undid.

And fans are left with hurt feelings and more than a few questions. Not the least of which is, Did Satterfield and/or athletic director Vince Tyra not know how their fanbase might react to even the suspicion of a coach looking for greener pastures? And if they did, why were they not rushing to get in front of this story and do as much damage control as possible?

Has Scott Satterfield already gone to Carolina in his mind? How much longer Satterfield stays at Louisville is a mystery. But whether it’s a week, a month or the rest of his natural life, fans should dramatically rethink and rework their relationship with the coach of their favorite collegiate athletic program.

You don’t weep uncontrollably when your favorite mail carrier gets another route. You don’t rend your garments when the kid who trims the hedges just right goes off to college. You shouldn’t care so much when the coach leaves.

Except for Chris Mack. But he’s not going anywhere.

Nope. Not ever.

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