LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville hired Jeff Brohm as its football coach, concluding a whirlwind process that ended with the school welcoming home a native son who had a hand in the Cardinals' success as a player and assistant coach.
The University of Louisville Athletic Association's executive board approved a six-year contract on Thursday that will pay the former Purdue coach a base salary of $5 million next season with annual increases of $100,000, plus incentives. Brohm will also receive one-time payments of $500,000 in 2023 and 2024 that'll increase by $250,000 for two-year cycles up to $1 million in 2027-28.
Brohm, who was a Louisville quarterback and minor league baseball player, was introduced Thursday to a standing ovation in a packed news conference at Cardinal Stadium. His Twitter bio reflected his new job.
“It's really gratifying and humbling to be up here,” Brohm said. “This is home to me. Not a job, but a way of life.”
Brohm went 36-34 in six seasons with the Boilermakers, including 17-9 the past two seasons. He guided them to their first Big Ten West division title before they fell to No. 2 Michigan 43-22 in the conference championship.
Brohm succeeds Scott Satterfield, who left Monday to become Cincinnati's coach after going 25-24 in four seasons at Louisville.
Neither Brohm nor Satterfield will be on the sidelines when their new teams meet in the inaugural Fenway Bowl on Dec. 17 — a matchup of former rivals. Former Louisville star Deion Branch, a Super Bowl MVP with the Patriots, will guide Louisville on an interim basis.
Brohm inherits a team looking to become a serious Atlantic Coast Conference contender. Not since Lamar Jackson led the Cardinals to a 7-1 Atlantic Division finish on the way to winning the 2016 Heisman Trophy have they come close to challenging perennial heavyweight Clemson.
Brohm immediately became the prime candidate mentioned to replace Satterfield, much like four years ago when Louisville sought a successor to Bobby Petrino after a 2-10 finish. Back then, Brohm was wrapping up his second season at Purdue and was committed to building the Boilermakers.
He accepted this time around because he had Purdue where he wanted it to be — and because it just felt right.
“These things happen fast, and this is the time," said Brohm, adding that he told Purdue AD Mike Bobinski that he would listen to Louisville when the job suddenly opened. “It’s a great opportunity. I always wanted to coach here and I loved playing here. I love living here.”
Bobinski said Brohm informed him of his decision to take the Louisville job on Wednesday morning. The AD expressed gratitude to Brohm for rebuilding the program.
“He’s helped us show some of the things that can get done here," Bobinski said. “We’ve energized our students and fan base and I know how much energy and effort Jeff, personally, put into this to make that happen. I think all of us here at Purdue should be appreciative of that.”
For example, Purdue ranks 17th in FBS passing offense (287.2 yards per game); Charlie Jones tops receivers nationally with 1,361 yards and is tied for fourth with 12 touchdowns.
Bobinski said Purdue co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach Ron English would join Brohm immediately. He also expected wide receivers coach Garrick McGee, a former Cardinals assistant, and running backs coach Chris Barclay to depart for Louisville.
Offensive coordinator Brian Brohm, Jeff's younger brother, will remain with the Boilermakers through the Citrus Bowl as interim coach.
Brohm's arrival marks the second high-profile hiring this year for athletic director Josh Heird, who looked to the school's legacy in both cases. In March as interim AD, he hired former Cardinals player and Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne as basketball coach.
Heird became the permanent AD this summer and has now added the football coach that he's confident wants to be there for the long haul.
“I’ve been in the AD role for 366 days, and Jeff, you’ve made my life hard for 365 of them," Heird said, referring to the ongoing public clamor for Brohm that he finally silenced. “All kidding aside, this is an exciting day for the University of Louisville and our city.”
Brohm is 66-44 in his career, including a successful 30-10 stint at Western Kentucky from 2014-16.
He has built a reputation for his offensive expertise, learning his craft while going 15-10 as a starting QB under Howard Schnellenberger at Louisville. He later worked as Schnellenberger's assistant at Florida Atlantic.
Brohm also assisted Petrino at Louisville and WKU before succeeding him as coach in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 2014 and creating his own sterling head coaching profile.
“This decision had nothing to do with bringing back a hometown hero," Heird said. “Simply put, Jeff gives this program the best chance to succeed. Jeff is a proven winner.”
AP Sports Writer Michael Marot in West Lafayette, Indiana, contributed to this report.
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