BOZICH | Vince Tyra earned high marks for recruiting Scott Satterfield
By Rick Bozich
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In a perfect world, Jeff Brohm would not be the new football coach at the University of Louisville. Nick Saban would be.
If you’re talking perfect, there is one pick. Get Saban and rule the playoffs every year.
On Planet Perfect, Dabo Swinney holds the runner-up position. He’s not leaving Clemson -- unless Alabama calls.
After those two, people will fuss. Urban Meyer. Brian Kelly. Bob Stoops. Kirby Smart. Brohm makes the list here because of his Louisville background.
But perfection only exists at Alabama.
It did not exist in the marketplace where Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra searched for a replacement for Bobby Petrino.
Write that down. Remember that. We’re grading on a curve.
Considering the background noise that percolated around Tyra while he pitched the U of L job, considering this was his first football coaching search and considering the candidates who were legitimately available after Brohm chose to stay at Purdue, I’d give Tyra an A-minus for identifying, recruiting and signing former Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield to his six-year deal.
Tyra found a proven winner to join a program that was a major loser and underachiever this season. He did it despite the new guy knowing he was Plan B. He did it even though it was no secret there were issues in the U of L locker room.
I’m not alone in saying Tyra did well.
Joan Niesen of Sports Illustrated was less confident that Tyra got the best guy on the market. She rated the Louisville hire a 3.8 on a 5-point scale, ranking it behind the 4s she gave Ohio State with Ryan Day and Texas Tech and Matt Wells. (The link.)
As I wrote Tuesday, even with a six-year package valued at more than $19 million, these hires do not come with guarantees. Give me an athletic director who does not have whiff on his resume, and I’ll predict that guy has not made many hires.
But when you study the six other Power 5 jobs that have been filled, Tyra did as well as anybody.
North Carolina threw a Hail Mary back to 1997 by fetching Mack Brown from ESPN. Brown was eased out by Texas in 2013 after his final four Longhorns’ teams won 58.8 percent of their games.
He was an excellent hire when the Tar Heels got him from Tulane in 1988. But the narrative around Brown’s final seasons in Austin was that he lost his recruiting mojo and ran his program like a country club.
Good luck, Carolina.
Good luck to Kansas, too. The Jayhawks made a call based on the past more than the future by hiring Les Miles, who had a nice run at Louisiana State before getting the ziggy. He’ll sell tickets. He’ll win more games than the guy he replaced. But he won’t change the arc of Jayhawks’ football.
That was the Hire The Faded Big Name Strategy. Colorado and Maryland used a different playbook: Hire The Hot Coordinator.
For Colorado, that was Mel Tucker, Georgia’s defensive coordinator. Tucker also has ties to Alabama and the NFL, but he’ll have to prove A) his head coaching skills and B) connections to Boulder, Colo.
For Maryland, that was Mike Locksley, Alabama’s offensive coordinator. He bombed as the head coach at New Mexico as well as the interim coach with the Terrapins. Maybe some Saban pixie dust will make him better this time.
Ohio State went with the Promote Your Coordinator Before You Lose Your Coordinator plan, elevating Ryan Day to replace Urban Meyer. Day looked the part while winning three games when Meyer was suspended at the start of this season.
But being the full-time head coach and face of The Ohio State University is a daunting challenge. We’ll need more proof.
That leaves two jobs -- Texas Tech and Louisville. Both hired Head Coaches Who Have Won.
Matt Wells of Utah State, a former Louisville assistant, was a solid choice by Texas Tech. Half of his six Utah State teams won nine games or more. He started strong, watched his program stall and then pushed back to 10-2 this season.
Can he win in Lubbock, where geography and competing against Texas and Oklahoma are the two biggest challenges? Check back in 2022.
Satterfield checks as many boxes for Louisville as any of the new coaches check in their new assignments. Maybe more.
Only one losing season, not three like Wells.
Persistent domination of the Sun Belt Conference.
The confident ability to execute his plan while upgrading App State from FCS to FBS competition.
And looking at Satterfield’s record Thursday, I found another thing to like: Appalachian State’s last 14 victories were by 10 points or more.
In fact, 32 of Appalachian State’s 40 victories over the last four seasons were by 10 or more.
I’ll say it for the 327th time, no guarantee. But in the current marketplace with the issues swirling around Louisville football, Vince Tyra did as well as anybody in finding his next football coach.
Copyright 2018 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.