The Raycom Media Camellia Bowl isn’t the first chance encounter for Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield and Toledo coach Jason Candle this year.
Close friends since working together for one season on the same Toledo staff in 2009, they ended up at Fenway Park on the same day in early July.
Satterfield and his wife, Beth, were in Boston to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. They were accompanied by Mark Speir, who served as an Appalachian State assistant before becoming Western Carolina’s head coach, and his wife, Paige.
Candle’s fifth-wheel presence wasn’t premeditated. He and former Toledo assistant Tom Manning had tickets to watch the Boston Red Sox play the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who crushed Candle’s favorite team 21-2.
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“He’s there in the same hotel the same weekend going to the same Red Sox game, so I hung out with him at the Red Sox game,” Satterfield said with a laugh. “It was wild and a coincidence.”
Did Satterfield’s wife have the same sense of humor about it? Thankfully, she didn’t view Candle as an anniversary crasher.
“She didn't mind it too bad,” a smiling Satterfield said. “It was pretty funny. We just hung out a little bit, and she wanted to see him, too.”
Five months later, the 43-year-old Satterfield and 37-year-old Candle are back together in Montgomery preparing their 9-3 teams for a Saturday meeting in the Cramton Bowl stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. EST on ESPN.
Satterfield spent 11 years working as an assistant coach at Appalachian State, where he had played quarterback from 1991-95, before leaving Boone to join the staff of a newly hired Tim Beckman at Toledo. Satterfield coached quarterbacks while Candle, who had worked as the offensive coordinator at Division III Mount Union, left his alma mater to work with the Rockets’ slot receivers and tight ends.
During that 5-7 season, Satterfield developed a bond with Candle and offensive line coach Matt Campbell, who had also spent time as a Mount Union offensive coordinator. He became the Rockets’ head coach after Illinois hired Beckman late in the 2011 season, and Toledo promoted Candle to head coach after Iowa State hired Campbell last November.
“We all worked well together in that room,” said Satterfield, who left Toledo after the 2009 season. “We're all very similar guys — offensive-minded guys, very competitive, and we've all been part of winning programs.”
Toledo ranked 84th in total offense in 2008 and improved to 13th in the year that Satterfield, Candle and Campbell worked together. The Rockets threw for 278.5 yards per game and averaged 159.8 yards on the ground.
Appalachian State has maintained its run-first identity under Satterfield, who returned to his alma mater as an assistant head coach/offensive coordinator in 2012 and succeeded Jerry Moore after that season. With senior Marcus Cox (the school’s career rushing leader) and sophomore Jalin Moore (this year’s offensive player of the year in the Sun Belt Conference) as backfield threats, the Mountaineers have the nation’s 13th-best rushing offense.
Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside has thrown 43 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions for an offense that ranks eighth nationally by averaging 329.1 passing yards per game, but the Rockets have balance. They average 200.7 rushing yards per game on the strength of 225-pound back Kareem Hunt, the No. 2 active FBS rusher with 4,825 career yards, 135 fewer than what Cox has totaled as a four-year starter.
The Winston-Salem Journal is a news partner of the Observer. For more Appalachian State coverage go to http://www.journalnow.com/sports/asu/