The Barbour Shop: Coach Satterfield’s Apology And My (Complicated) Thoughts

When Louisville Football Coach Scott Satterfield had a “conversation” with South Carolina, it caused a great conflagration of anger and dismay among the UofL fan base. It’s understandable and we all know why. Even Coach Satterfield acknowledged the history of Louisville Football coaches and flirtations with other jobs when addressing his flirtation with South Carolina. Louisville fans simply want a coach that wants to build something special here. We thought we had that with Charlie Strong, but despite his protestations that “he’s not cut like that,” it turned out he was. All assumed Coach Satterfield was actually different. Then South Carolina happened and the same feelings of anger and frustration swept over the fan base.

Coach Satterfield attempted to address it in his weekly pregame presser on Monday. He got through the presser and drew even more ire from the fans. His answer addressing how he can demand buy in from players when he’s talking to another school with a game left in the season drew the most criticism.

This was bound to happen, though. Coach Satterfield isn’t a polished orator. He’s not the politician many other coaches are. He attempts to answer questions thoughtfully and carefully, choosing to speak without written statements. That’s actually quite nice, but it’s a double-edged sword because if things go off the rails, you get a press conference performance like Monday’s that was derided by many.

Coach Satterfield understood he made a mistake; not only in his press conference performance, but in his handling of the whole situation with South Carolina. That’s why he penned this letter to season ticket holders.

While it was released to season ticket holders, there is no doubt he knew he was speaking to all of Card Nation. In this letter, Coach Satterfield was extremely contrite. Unlike his attempt at the press conference to address the issue, the letter allowed him to collect his thoughts into a coherent and humble apology.

Some fans are just done. They won’t be won back. Others, are skeptical, but willing to give the Coach another chance. Many don’t care about coaches or apologies and have the same philosophy as Al Davis did: “just win baby!” Yet, there are those that want to believe that they weren’t duped again as they had been with Coach Charlie Strong. They want to believe Satterfield is a man of his word, a man of character and loyalty.

I think the letter is a great start. Listen, the letter doesn’t absolve him immediately or completely. In fact, he even acknowledges that in the letter with this passage:

“Words are important, but actions speak louder. In the days, weeks, and months ahead I will do what is necessary to earn back the trust and support of each and every one of you. Today, and each day forward, I am proud to “give my all for the ‘Ville.

I don’t blame one single fan for not immediately buying back in and forgiving him. Listen, I have skepticism and still believe that if a major job opens in NC, there’s a real danger he will leave. Yet, when I see the players come out and defend their head coach on Twitter it helps me to see the letter in a new light. When I see two team leaders in Dez and Tutu come out in teleconferences and defend their coach vociferously, it makes me naturally want to forgive and move on. They are the ones who give their all to Coach Satt day in and day out in practice and team meetings. They sacrifice so much time to this coach and his staff to become better players and better men. If they can stand in support of their coach despite what happened, maybe I can at least forgive, even if I do it begrudgingly.

For me, this letter is authentic and genuine. I believe Coach Satt knows he messed up. I truly believe he didn’t want to cause fans or players the grief and anger he did. It’s going to take time and effort, as he himself mentions, to repair the relationship between he and the fans. It seems the players have already forgiven him and are ready to continue rebuilding our proud program. I think I am too. I believe Coach Satt is a good and decent guy, but even good and decent guys screw up. The difference between good and decent people and bad people is that good people are contrite when a mistake is made and own up. Coach Satt owned up.

So, I’m ready to move on and root on the team. For fans that don’t and won’t trust or support him again, it’s your right. I can definitely understand. I was as angry as anyone when it all went down. However, the reaction of the players and the letter have helped subdue my anger and forgive Coach Satt. I want him to retire here as coach and build our program into a truly prestigious one as Denny Crum did when he took over our basketball program. However, I’m not naive. I know if a job in NC opens, Coach Satterfield will have heavy interest and might likely leave. He was honest on Monday when asked about that possibility. I appreciated that. In the end, I love Louisville Football and I will support the program wholeheartedly and that includes Coach Satt for as long as he is in charge of it.

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