By Tim Gardner
New Appalachian State University head football coach Eliah Drinkwitz has named another member of his coaching staff.
Drinkwitz announced December 31 that he is retaining Greg Gasparato as a defensive assistant.
Gasparato was hired as safeties coach for the 2018 season by former Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield, who took the head coaching post at the University of Louisville in December.
Gasparato is the fourth assistant coach retained from the Satterfield staff by Drinkwitz. He named Shawn Clark his assistant head coach and offensive line coach on December 19. Drinkwitz followed that by announcing D.J. Smith (defensive assistant) and Justin Watts (offensive assistant) also would remain on the staff.
Drinkwitz has hired three new assistant coaches– Ken Dorsey as an offensive assistant, Erik Link as special teams coordinator and Jeff Jones as strength and conditioning coach.
Drinkwitz also is expected to announce the hiring of veteran coach Ted Roof as his defensive coordinator. Roof has extensive experience as a defensive coordinator on the major college level and is a former head coach at Duke University.
Gasparato is very familiar with the Mountaineers’ 3-4 defensive scheme, which they have utilized the past six seasons. During that time, Appalachian State has won four straight bowls (2015-2018) and three outright or co-conference championships (2016, 2017 and 2018).
Under defensive coordinator Bryan Brown last season, Appalachian State was a nationally Top 10 defense in both points and yards allowed. Brown joined Satterfield’s Louisville staff before the New Orleans Bowl, which Appalachian State won, 45-13, over Middle Tennessee State.
Gasparato played safety at Wofford College from 2005 to 2008. He also served as a defensive graduate assistant at Appalachian State in 2013 and 2014 before coaching at Wofford the next three seasons (2015-2017).
Prior to his arrival at Appalachian State in 2013, Gasparato gained two years of collegiate coaching experience with stints as defensive backs coach at Juniata, Pennsylvania College in 2011 and as outside linebackers coach at Brevard, North Carolina College in 2012. He began his coaching career as safeties coach and special-teams coordinator at Richland Northeast High School in Columbia, South Carolina in 2010.
Under Gasparato’s coaching, Mountaineer safeties Desmond Franklin, Josh Thomas and Austin Exford combined for nine interceptions.
Gasparato comes from a prominent football background. His late father, Nick, was a longtime assistant coach at Pittsburgh, Michigan State, Virginia, South Carolina, Temple and Penn State (where he helped lead the Nittany Lions to the 1986 national championship) and also served as a high school coach at State College (Pennsylvania), Dutch Fork (SC) and Cape Coral (Florida) High Schools. Greg’s brother, Mike, was a running back at Penn State from 2001-04.