Consecutive Camellia Bowl Victory an Early Birthday Present for Coach Satterfield, 44

Published Thursday, December 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm
satterfield-with-trophy

App State Head Coach Scott Satterfield holds the Camellia Bowl trophy as confetti rains down. Photo courtesy App State Athletics

 
By David Coulson
 
BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State football coach Scott Satterfield celebrated with an early birthday, or Christmas present Saturday night when his Mountaineers wrapped up another significant season with a win in the Camellia Bowl.
 
Satterfield turned 44 years old on Wednesday, just four days after watching his team win in dramatic fashion for the second year in a row, beating Toledo 31-28 in Montgomery, Alabama at Cramton Stadium. 
 
He cradled the Camellia Bowl trophy like he would a swaddled baby during the post-game celebration and press interviews that followed, bringing back memories of former ASU chancellor Ken Peacock showing off the three national championship trophies that Satterfield — then an App State assistant coach — and the rest of the Mountaineers helped to secure a decade before.
 
Satterfield was in a reflective mood following a win that wrapped up Appalachian’s 10-3, 2016 campaign — the second straight double-digit victory total for the Mountaineers in just their second yer of bowl eligibility since moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
 
“(We’re) maybe the most successful team in the history of a transition to FBS with what we’ve been able to do the last two years, ” Satterfield said, boldly.
 
Last year, the Mountaineers became the first team to win a bowl and 11 overall games in their first year of bowl eligibility. A post and graphic on Facebook on Wednesday noted that the only teams with as many wins in FBS in the past two years — 21 — as the Mountaineers are three of the four squads competing in the FBS championship semifinals, Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State.

“When we set out this season, our goals were to number one win the Sun Belt, number two to get to a bowl and win the bowl,” Satterfield explained. “We pretty much did everything we set out to do this year. We got double digit wins again. Back-to-back double digit wins. Back-to-back Camellia Bowl champions. I don’t know what else you can do. We did about all we could do this year. It was unbelievable.”

Appalachian supporters also received a reality check during bowl preparation when Satterfield’s name was floated as a leading candidate for the University of Cincinnati job, a rumor that this black-and-gold bleeding coach tried to downplay.

Fortunately for Mountaineer fans and administrators, the Bearcats hired Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell for a position — with a financial package exceeding $2 million — where Satterfield was rumored to be the fallback candidate.

During App State’s final workout of the season at Kidd Brewer Stadium last week, Satterfield was queried about the Cincinnati job.

“I have a great job here,” the well-grounded Satterfield said. “I have never been driven by material stuff.”

Other than the money, there are plenty of reasons for Satterfield to stay planted in Boone.

Besides a brief stint in the business world after graduating from Appalachian in 1996 and three years spent as an offensive coordinator at Toledo and Florida International between 2009-2011, Satterfield has spent his entire adult life in Boone.

As a player, Satterfield was a three-year starting quarterback and as a team captain, he led the Mountaineers to back-to-back, quarterfinal appearances in the I-AA playoffs and 12 straight victories in his senior season of 1995. He beat out future NFL star Chad Pennington of Marshall as the SoCon’s all-conference, first-team quarterback.

His wife, the former Beth Burleson, is also an App State graduate, who is referred to as “the real athlete in the family” after completing a track and field career with the Mountaineers that included winning the SoCon women’s athlete of the year honor as a senior.

The couple’s two children are at an age where the family would also think twice about uprooting their family again.

Satterfield also watched his mentor, legendary coach Jerry Moore, reap the benefits of staying for 24 years as the Mountaineers’ head coach.

And as Moore did in building Appalachian to championship heights, Satterfield has the Mountaineer program in place to be successful for many years to come.

“What’s great about this is in our program right now, we got a lot of great players coming back,” Satterfield said. “Our defense is going to be outstanding next year. We’ve got our running back (Jalin Moore). We’ve got our quarterback (Taylor Lamb). All our receivers are back except for Jaquil (Capel). We’re going to be really good again next year.”

ASU came within one play of beating Tennessee on the road in its season opener in 2016 and was also a play away from defeating Troy for what would have led to an outright Sun Belt Conference title (the Mountaineers shared the league title with Arkansas State).

“I’m really proud of our guys.,” Satterfield said. “We have so much fight and so much integrity in our football team. They do things right on and off the field and I think you can’t win close games like this if you don’t do things right on and off the field. They believe in each other. Our whole motto this year on our bracelets is we ride together. Everything that we do, we do together. Whether we win or we lose, we’re going to do it together.”

Chemistry, indeed, has been one of the hallmarks of the past two-and-a-half as the Mountaineers have won 27 of their past 32 games — with three of those losses coming to Power-5 conference opponents.

“We’re giving game balls to our seniors because of what they’ve been through,” Satterfield said Saturday. “Our fifth-year guys won the Southern Conference five years ago and now they’re Sun Belt champions and two-time Camellia Bowl champions. What they’ve been able to do, they transitioned us.”

But there were others to remember as well, in a post-game monolog that took on the sound of an Oscar acceptance speech.

“I’m so proud of (the players) and our coaching staff, everybody that’s involved with our program from the top to the bottom,” Satterfield gushed. “From our chancellor, to our athletic director, to our coaches. All the way down through. We all pull in the same direction. You can’t have success like we’ve had if you don’t do that. It’s imperative that you all pull in the same direction. Our support staff, our equipment, our trainer, our strength staff, our video staff. Everybody’s pulling in the same direction. We don’t have any egos. People want to know why we’ve been so successful. That’s why. I’m so proud of this group and this organization.”

Looking around at the post-bowl scene on Saturday, Satterfield said: “This right here is going to snowball into recruiting. We’ve already got a great class committed right now if we can hang onto them. We’ve got to get a few more that’ll come to us in February. It’s going to continue to snowball.”

With the celebration winding down at Cramton Stadium, Satterfield was already thinking about the 2017 season.

“We’re going to bring in some great student-athletes in this next class and have a great offseason and we can’t wait for Georgia,” he explained. “That’s our first game next year. We’re excited about it.” 

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