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Fenway Bowl intrigue! Cincinnati hires Louisville coach, so Cardinals turn to ex-Patriot Deion Branch.

Scott Satterfield replaces Luke Fickell, who recently left Cincinnati to become coach at Wisconsin.Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Cincinnati has hired Louisville’s Scott Satterfield to be its next coach, the university announced Monday.

Louisville was 7-5 this season under Satterfield and earned a berth in the Fenway Bowl, where coincidentally it will face Cincinnati. He replaces Luke Fickell, who recently left to become coach at Wisconsin.

Louisville later announced that player development director Deion Branch, a former Cardinals star and Super Bowl MVP with the Patriots, will serve as interim coach for the bowl game. Athletic director Josh Heird said at a news conference that he didn’t anticipate Branch, who was hired as the Cardinals’ director of player development in January, or anyone on the current staff becoming candidates for the permanent job.

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Satterfield said he was honored to become coach of the Bearcats and looked forward to continuing the program’s winning tradition.

“I’m excited to take Cincinnati into the Big 12 this fall and ready to compete for championships,” he said in a statement. “I’m most looking forward to meeting the current team and beginning to build relationships with these young men. We will hit the ground running today.”

Athletic director John Cunningham called Satterfield “a proven winner” and noted his competitiveness and culture-building.

“He’s an innovative offensive mind and a leader who develops men on and off the field,” Cunningham said in the statement. “He’s the perfect fit to grow this program and lead us into the Big 12 next season and beyond.”

The Cardinals overcame starts of 2-3 overall and 0-3 in Atlantic Coast Conference play with a 5-2 stretch run highlighted by wins over then-No. 10 Wake Forest, Pittsburgh and North Carolina State. Their disappointing start fueled speculation at midseason that Satterfield would be fired before Louisville won, 34-17, at Virginia to begin its second-half surge toward bowl eligibility. It also finished 4-4 in league play despite a 31-16 loss at Clemson.

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Heird wished Satterfield well in a statement and said he was grateful for his dedication to the program. A search was on for Satterfield’s successor.

“We will be looking for a tremendous leader who recognizes both the history and potential of Louisville Football and is committed long term to helping the program reach new heights,” Heird said.

Satterfield, who signed a six-year contract through Dec. 31, 2024, with an annual base salary of $3.25 million, departs Louisville following a somewhat tumultuous tenure after succeeding Bobby Petrino following a highly successful chapter guiding Appalachian State.

He inherited a Cardinals squad reeling from a 2-10 finish in 2018 and engineered a remarkable turnaround, ending 2019 with an 8-5 record and bowl victory. Louisville regressed to 4-7 against a 10-game ACC schedule in a coronavirus-marred 2020 season but seemed headed back to respectability last fall with a 6-6 regular season and another bowl appearance.

In between, Satterfield came under fire for talking with South Carolina about its coaching vacancy after initially denying contact. He later issued a public apology.