Tradition. Legacy. Winning.
For Trousdale County’s football program, those words carry a deeper meaning. And for over 60 years, the Satterfield family has had a tremendous impact on maintaining the importance of football in the Hartsville community.
As the 2019 season nears, that legacy is now in the hands of the third generation as Blake Satterfield prepares for his debut as head coach of the Yellow Jackets.
Blake was named head coach in February to replace Brad Waggoner, who left Trousdale County for a job in Georgia. Blake served as defensive coordinator for the 2018 team, which finished as runner-up in the Class 2A BlueCross Bowl.
Blake is the younger son of Clint Satterfield, who coached Trousdale County to five state titles in 24 years, and the grandson of Jim Satterfield, who won a state title in Hartsville and whose name graces the Jackets’ stadium.
Both Clint and Jim Satterfield are members of the TSSAA Hall of Fame, with a combined 486 victories between them in roughly five decades of coaching. Both also served as Trousdale County’s director of schools, with Clint currently in that position since 2007.
Blake insisted he felt no pressure to take over the Trousdale County program based on his name and the success of his father and grandfather. In fact, Clint tried to steer his son away from the head coaching job.
“Going into this coaching thing, (Clint) said ‘You don’t have to do this, you don’t owe anything to it.’ I said, ‘Dad, it’s not because of you that I am or I’m not going to do it.’ ” Blake said.
“As a father, this was something I didn’t encourage,” Clint added. “I know how much time it takes away from family… As a superintendent, I felt there was a lot of pressure on me to hire someone local. But I hope I was really objective about that selection. Ultimately, I had to put the biases I had as a father aside to make the decision in the best interest of our school district.
“I don’t want Blake to be me. I don’t want him to be anybody but himself.”
Clint spoke on his own experiences following in his father’s footsteps when he became coach in the mid-1980s. He said the opportunity to come home and help his alma mater and his father was a motivating factor, but said he never felt pressured to succeed based on his father’s accomplishments.
“I just wanted to try to serve my school and county that have been so good to me,” Clint said. “I’ve always enjoyed football since I was a child and I was just so caught up in that. I never really thought about the pressure.
“Everything that I know about building relationships and the psychology of coaching, I learned from my dad… But I never tried to be my dad.”
Clint credited his college coaches, Boots Donnelly at Middle Tennessee State and Wayne Grubb at North Alabama, for developing the technical side of his own coaching experience.
While it may seem to outsiders looking in that having another Satterfield on the sidelines was inevitable, both father and son said that was never the case.
“I took a sabbatical from coaching football for a while… All of a sudden Coach Waggoner approached me and said, ‘Would you be interested in being defensive coordinator?’ ” Blake said. “At that point I felt I had coached these guys and I think I would give them a better chance on defense.”
Blake said that when the Trousdale County job came open, he again felt there was an opportunity to make his own mark on one of the state’s tradition-rich programs. He also noted that the 2019 senior class will be under its third head coach and noted the instability that brings into a team.
“That’s tough on kids,” Blake said. “Ultimately, I believe I can give them the best chance to be successful.”
Aside from his father and grandfather, Blake credited current Upperman coach Adam Caine as one of his coaching influences. Caine served as defensive coordinator at Sewanee when Blake played safety there.
“The Creekbank was always more home than away from home,” Blake said. “My defensive coordinator at Sewanee, Coach Caine, was my biggest influence about getting into coaching. I can’t say enough good things about him.”
Asked what he would like to incorporate from his father’s coaching tenure into his own time leading the Yellow Jackets, Blake joked, “Winning state championships. That would be awesome!
“My dad had his kids ready to play on Friday night and he stressed doing things the right way all of the time. It’s an injustice of you don’t do some of those things… I want to hear about what’s done well and how we can use that in what we do.”
Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]