Satterfield named to coaching hall of fame

Longtime Greenback football coach Bill Satterfield, who got his start in Lenoir City, is pictured at the Lenoir City High School football field.

A former longtime football coach at Greenback who got his start in Lenoir City has been named to the Tennessee Football Coaching Association Hall of Fame.

Bill Satterfield, who has 40 years of coaching experience, coached at Greenback for 23 years and was head coach for 20. His team went 15-0 in 1987 and won the state championship.

He started coaching as a middle school basketball and football coach in Lenoir City in 1973, and was back at Lenoir City High School a few years ago helping the current coach, Jeff Cortez, as a receivers coach.

In between, Satterfield coached at other schools, worked as a basketball coach, athletic director and assistant principal and started a football program at a private school.

His recent announcement as one of five going into the Tennessee Football Coaching Association Hall of Fame Class of 2020 came as a surprise.

“After coaching this long, it’s never something I really thought about,” Satterfield said. “It’s a pleasant surprise.”

The five coaches who are members of this year’s class are Satterfield, Eddie Courtney of Farragut, Red Roberts of Franklin County, Don Stewart of Marion County and Eddie “Jelly” Watson of Cookeville.

The group will be honored during a Hall of Fame breakfast and induction ceremony Dec. 4 at Ridgedale Baptist Church in Chattanooga.

A tenured coaching career

Satterfield left Lenoir City in 1977 and went to Vonore High School. There, he was football coach and head boys basketball coach. He stayed until 1982, when he went to Greenback to be an assistant coach on the football team. Three years later he was given the nod as head coach and remained for a 20-year run until 2005.

Satterfield also served as head boys basketball coach and athletic director for several years.

The Cherokees went undefeated with a 15-0 record in 1987, the year they won the state championship. At the time, there were just three football classifications and no separation between public and private schools.

Greenback had to play teams like Catholic, Webb and South Pittsburg.

Satterfield said in his 20 years as coach, Greenback only missed the post-season twice, and one of those years they played a bowl game against Rockwood.

“The rest of the time we were in the playoffs,” he said.

Now a Loudon County commissioner, Satterfield left Greenback in 2005 and coached private schools for three years. He started the football program at Grace Christian Academy, where he stayed two years, and then he served as athletic director and boys basketball coach at Knoxville Christian School for one year. He then went to Monroe County as an athletic director and football coach at Sequoyah High School where he stayed for seven years until 2015.

Before he arrived at Sequoyah, a larger Class 4A school, the football team had been winning just two games a year, Satterfield said.

“We were able to turn them around,” he said. “It was definitely a challenge.”

Sequoyah boasted four straight playoff appearances and four winning seasons, Satterfield said.

Former player Teddy Jones, who played at Greenback from 1987-91, believes Satterfield helped contribute to Greenback’s second state championship in 2017.

Jones started a youth football league in 1998 in Greenback but didn’t have a field or equipment. Satterfield helped the league get equipment and establish a line of credit and allowed the league to use the football field and concession stand when necessary, Jones said. Players from the youth football league would go on to win the state championship in 2017.

“He’s just always been a great man,” Jones said. “He was like a second father to all of us. They don’t make coaches like him anymore. He didn’t just coach the good players. He coached everybody. He treated everybody like he loved them, not just like they were a number. He’s helped me many times throughout my life. He was just always there.”

In high school, Jones played a variety of positions for Satterfield at Greenback, including tailback, quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, safety and punter.

Cortez said Satterfield has done a great job coaching for various schools. He first met the longtime coach in 2011 when the Panthers played Sequoyah.

Sattterfield was gracious, positive, always had something uplifting to share with the players and helped the athletes become better people, Cortez said.

“It was just a lot of fun to coach with him,” Cortez said. “We were blessed to have him. ... We benefited greatly from that experience and I did, too.”

Always wanted to be a coachSatterfield played high school football at Lanier in Blount County, which is now part of William Blount High School. He played right and left guard on offense and nose guard on defense.

He said he has coached all positions but especially likes working with running backs on offense and linebackers on defense.

Satterfield went to college to be a teacher and received an associate degree at Hiwassee College, a bachelor’s at University of Tennessee, a master’s at Lincoln Memorial University and education specialist postgraduate degree in administration and supervision at Tennessee Tech.

Ultimately, coaching “is something that I always felt like I wanted to do,” he said.