‘Getting the right people’: The App State’s winning culture is united by a common thread | Nation

Appalachian State President Dr. John E. Thomas and Athletic Director Jim Garner caught up with Coach Jerry Moore before his introductory press conference in 1989 and wanted to clarify one thing before addressing the media.

It’s pronounced app-uh-LATCH-in.

“They sent me to a small room before the press conference and worked on me saying ‘Appalachia,'” Moore told The News & Observer. “You’ll never hear me say ‘App State’ because they taught me how to pronounce it.”

Nowadays, the university would prefer to be called App State in first reference. That’s pretty much the only thing that hasn’t been carried over to the football schedule. Call it Appalachian or App State, chances are you’ll call it a winner. No other Division I football program in the state of North Carolina has had the continuity of the Mountaineers for nearly 40 years.

Moore became the most successful coach in program history, winning three NCAA Division I-AA national titles from 2005 to 2007.

App State has had just three losing seasons since 1983, when coach Mack Brown took over after the Mountaineers posted back-to-back losing seasons, thanks to last season’s 10-4 record led by the coach. Shawn Clark.

From the NCAA I-AA division and its three national titles to the Football Bowl subdivision in 2014. Whether playing in the Southern Conference or the Sun Belt. Thanks to Brown, Sparky Woods, Moore, Scott Satterfield, Eli Drinkwitz and Clark, App State continues to win.

“I think in some cases, most cases, it’s probably harder to maintain something than to build it,” said Woods, who guided the Mountaineers to their first I-AA playoff appearance in the Premier League. history of the program in 1986. I have to thank Coach Moore and everyone after. What they did is remarkable to keep it going.

And upset last Saturday at the time-No. 6 Texas A&M shows that the tradition continues.

“It’s not surprising”

Satterfield took on the unenviable task of replacing the legendary Moore in 2013 and led App State until he left to become Louisville’s head coach in 2018. He wasn’t shocked last Saturday to see the Mountaineers realize their second biggest upset in program history.

“It’s no surprise that App went to win that game,” Satterfield said. “This program, they think they can go play anyone, anywhere and win.”

How they came to think that way is at the heart of why Satterfield said the Mountaineers were successful regardless of coach or system in place. Satterfield described Boone as a “very unique place” that people don’t understand “unless they’ve been there”.

The isolation of being located in the mountains – and the winters that go with it – becomes a recruitment tool. Not everyone will like it. And that’s the point. Because players who choose to commit to App State are dedicated. As Satterfield said, rookies “love it or hate it.”

“When they go there, you’ll be doing two things: you’re going to school, you’re playing ball – there’s nothing else to do,” Satterfield said. “And so the people who are there are to play ball. And that’s why when you put the ball down, they’re ready to play. I mean, really, there are no distractions and I think that’s a huge thing that people don’t really fully realize. And the kids there, they play with a chip on their shoulder every day. Every day.”

Satterfield added that the bulk of the roster is made up of players who weren’t recruited by Power Five schools. This is why player evaluation and development have also been factored into their success. Just look in their backfield.

Nate Noel was a 5-foot-10, 170-pound running back from Northwestern High School in Miami. The only other offers he received were from Buffalo, Alabama A&M, Florida International and Alabama State. Cameron Peoples, who was on the 6-foot-2, 185-pound list out of high school, was recruited by Illinois. But his offers came from Georgia State, Troy, Tulane, Massachusetts and UAB.

This duo combined to rush for over 2,000 yards last season. Peoples, now 225 pounds, replaced the injured Noel and gained 112 yards against the Aggies last week, averaging 5.9 yards per carry.

“It’s a unique culture and it’s a program based on having the right people in the building,” Clark said. “We’ve been surrounded by the right people and we have our kind of guys and they’re guys who come here and appreciate a world-class degree and a chance to play for championships. And I think we do a very good job of evaluating not the All-Stars, but also what we see with our own eyes. And it has paid off for us for a long time.

It also pays to have trainers stick around instead of using App State as a springboard job. Drinkwitz, who is currently Missouri’s head coach, was the first coach since Brown to leave after just a year.

Cooper Hodges, a fifth-year offensive lineman, was drafted by and played a year under Satterfield. His second season he played for Drinkwitz. He fully approved of Clark’s hiring and the potential stability it represented.

“We wanted someone who was an enforcement guy,” Hodges said. “It was just more worried about the players and the development than crushing us to go to a bigger school. So we were definitely – I was 100% Coach Clark.

Clark is in his third season and already reminds some of Boone Moore, who coached from 1989 to 2012. Clark and Moore both tend to wear similar vintage sweatshirts, giving new meaning to the phrase. common thread at App State.

N&O reporter Andrew Carter contributed to this story.

About Stuart M. McFarland

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