High School Football

SC football coaching legend Jimmy Satterfield dies

Former Furman and Lexington football coach Jimmy Satterfield died Monday, May 6, 2019, at the age of 79.
Former Furman and Lexington football coach Jimmy Satterfield died Monday, May 6, 2019, at the age of 79. The State File Photo

Jimmy Satterfield, a football coaching legend in the state of South Carolina, died Monday.

Satterfield was 79 years old. He had been in bad health in the last week after complications from heart surgery.

The Lancaster native was a fixture in coaching in the Palmetto State, most notably at Furman. Satterfield spent 21 seasons at Furman, including eight as head coach. He went 66-29-3 as head coach from 1986-1993 and directed the Paladins to three Southern Conference championships and the 1988 I-AA national championship — the first in Southern Conference history and first by a private school.

“It is truly a sad day for the Furman Football family with the passing of coach Jimmy Satterfield,” Furman coach Clay Hendrix said in a statement. “He had an incredible impact on so many young men and sincerely cared about what kind of men, father, husbands, and citizens we would all become.

“As an offensive coach, he had one of the most creative minds I have ever been around. There are many things we continue to do today that Coach Satterfield had a hand in developing. On a personal note, he gave me my first coaching job when I was 24 years old and didn’t know anything. He also attended the press conference 29 years later when I became Furman’s head coach. Coach Satterfield loved his players and coaches, but what I will remember most about him was how much he loved his wife, kids, and family.”

After Furman, Satterfield ended up at Lexington High School in 1996 and coached until 2003. He coached running back Demetrius Summers during his tenure and led the Wildcats to 2000 state championship game. When Lexington made it back to the title game in 2015, Wildcats coach Josh Stepp had Satterfield speak to his team days before the game against Northwestern.

“You will remember this for the rest of your life,” Satterfield told the Lexington players that day. “They are going to remember all this stuff, the practices, the Spartanburg game last week, so it is important to cherish it, because it is going to go by so fast.”

Saterfield went 189-63-8 as a college and high school head coach in his career, which also included stops at Eau Claire (1968-70) and Irmo (1971-72). He led the Shamrocks to the state championship game in 1970. In his 13 seasons as high school coach, his teams at Eau Claire, Irmo and Lexington made the state playoffs every year and won eight conference championships.

“Every job has been great,” Satterfield said when he retired from Lexington in 2014. “This has been a fabulous 40 years, but Mooney Player (another highly successful coach) told me a long time ago that it’s better to leave too early than too late.”

In 2015, Satterfield was inducted to the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.