The Scott Satterfield era of Louisville football is officially over.
It came with its ups and downs and finally came to an end when Satterfield took the head coaching job at Cincinnati on Monday. Satterfield ended his tenure with the Cardinals with a 25-24 mark with two winning seasons over the four years after going 8-5 in his debut campaign in 2019 and 7-5 in his final one.
U of L is now tasked with finding a new head coach to replace Satterfield, which will be the program's second coaching search in five years and first under athletic director Josh Heird, who was promoted to permanent AD this summer after leading, as interim AD, the hire of men's basketball coach Kenny Payne in the spring.
The Cardinals find themselves behind in the coaching carousel. Nebraska already swung big to land Matt Rhule early in the cycle, a successful college coach at two stops who struggled with the NFL's Carolina Panthers and was fired in October. Wisconsin also made a surprising splash hire a week ago, hiring the man Satterfield now leaves to replace — Luke Fickel — after the Badgers fired Paul Chryst in November. And then late Saturday came the news Colorado hired Deion Sanders away from Jackson State.
But there's still more movement across college football, and Heird and Louisville now find themselves in the middle of it.
Here are five possible candidates for Louisville’s next head football coach:
Jeff Brohm, Purdue
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Heird will have to reach out to one of Louisville’s native sons if for no other reason than to appease the fanbase. Social media has been abuzz about getting Brohm back to Louisville for some time. A Twitter account was even created to amplify some fans’ choice for the Cardinals’ next head coach.
Meanwhile, Brohm entered the 2022 campaign with a career record of 58-39 and is 36-34 leading the Boilermakers. That included a nine-win 2021 season, which is the second-most wins in a single season for Purdue. This year, the Boilermakers recorded an 8-5 season but lost to Michigan in the Big Ten Championship 43-22.
Brohm was asked Monday morning during a news conference at Purdue. He told the Journal & Courier "there's been no contact" with Louisville and responded to another question: "To be quite honest, I don't know much more than you guys do. I was in some meetings this morning, got some texts about Twitter and what news was out there. Other than that no more information."
Brohm was one of the top options when Bobby Petrino was fired in 2018. At that time, he'd only been with Purdue for a couple of years and wanted to show loyalty to the Boilermakers and turned the job down. Now in Year 6, the Louisville native seems to be a little more open-minded. While speaking to members of the Louisville Flaget High School Alumni Association in May, his answer to being asked about coming back to Louisville left much up to interpretation.
"I love this town, this area," Brohm reportedly said. "I’m an alumnus of Louisville, so anything can happen in the future.”
Will Stein, Texas-San Antonio
The Trinity High School and Louisville graduate has been with the University of Texas-San Antonio since 2020 and was elevated to the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach before the 2022 season. He called the plays this year and helped the team to an 11-2 mark, earning a trip to the Duluth Trading Cure Bowl against Troy on Dec. 16.
The Road Runners' offense averaged 37.9 points and 479 yards of offense per game.
Before getting the promotion, Stein spent the last two seasons as the Road Runners' passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach.
In his first season at UTSA, the wide receivers group compiled 1,923 yards and 16 touchdowns on 170 receptions as the team finished 7-5. In 2021, the Road Runners became one of only three teams in the country to have three receivers with at least 50 receptions and 750 yards, joining the likes of Appalachian State and Ohio State. Joshua Cephus, Zakhari Franklin and De'Corian Clark combined for 2,585 yards and 25 TDs on 204 catches.
The former Cardinals quarterback got his start as a graduate assistant at Louisville after earning his Master's degree in business administration in 2014 then created roots in the southwest by joining Texas' coaching staff as a quality control assistant in 2015, working with wide receivers and quarterbacks for four years. Stein then became the assistant head coach at Lake Travis High School in Austin in 2018 before leaving for UTSA two years later.
Dave Ragone, Atlanta Falcons
Sticking with Louisville connections, one might consider yet another former Cardinals quarterback. Ragone is currently in his second season as the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator and has spent more than a decade coaching in the NFL. Ragone calls plays for a Falcons offense among the worst offenses in the league, averaging 314.6 yards (ranked 28th) and 155.7 passing yards (31st), but with journeyman QB Marcus Mariotta the starter much of the season. The run game (158.9 yards per game) is second best in the league.
Ragone’s experience as both a former NFL player and having coached quarterbacks while with the Tennessee Titans and Chicago Bears could be appealing. The former Houston Texans quarterback coached Bears QB Mitch Trubisky to back-to-back 3,000-yard seasons in 2018-19, the third time in program history, as well as a Pro Bowl invite in 2018.
Ragone has also worked under current Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay when he was the offensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders and then-head coach Jay Gruden.
Matt Entz, North Dakota State
In his first job as a head coach, Entz has made a name for himself at the FCS level at the helm of North Dakota State’s football program. In 2019, he became the first Division I head football coach to go 16-0 in their first full season. He followed that up in 2020 with a 7-3 record and FCS quarterfinal appearance, falling to eventual champion Sam Houston State.
Before becoming a head coach, Entz was a defensive coordinator for 15 years and an associate head coach at two different programs for eight years. He also worked under former Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman as the associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Western Illinois in 2013.
Satterfield’s hiring proved Louisville wasn’t gun-shy about hiring a coach from the FCS level, but that was before Heird was leading the athletic department. Unlike Satterfield, however, Entz has a defensive background, which could be a welcomed change of pace. The last defensively minded U of L head coach was Charlie Strong. He still has the program’s highest winning percentage after going 37-15 (.712) with a 20-9 conference record over four seasons (2010-13).
Lance Leipold, Kansas
Singlehandedly changing the narrative of football at the University of Kansas, Leipold’s name was floated around when the head coaching positions at both Wisconsin and Nebraska were open. When asked about the jobs by The Associated Press, Leipold said, "We're happy here. We have no plans on going anywhere. Anything else is rumors.”
The Jayhawks' season took a turn, but the squad posted its first 5-0 start to the season since 2009 and was at one point ranked 19th in the country. The team ended the season with a 6-6 record and Leipold was given a contract extension recently, though that hasn't stopped coaches from entertaining other offers before.
Leipold’s success extends back to his time at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he won six Division III national championships between 2007 and 2014, posting a 109-6 record. In 2015, he became Buffalo’s head coach and posted three straight winning seasons in his final three years with the program, the first time Buffalo had done so in 20 years, before leaving for Kansas following the 2021 season.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Scott Satterfield leaves Louisville: 5 candidates to replace him