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App State’s Eliah Drinkwitz Retains Two Mountaineer Assistants For His Coaching Staff

By Tim Gardner

Eliah Drinkwitz has announced that he is retaining two members of former coach Scott Satterfield’s staff.

Drinkwitz said that Shawn Clark and D.J. Smith would serve as assistants to him.

Clark will be assistant head coach and offensive line coach, while D.J. Smith will be a defensive assistant with the Mountaineers.

Clark has been at Appalachian State since 2016, serving as the run game coordinator and offensive line coach. In that time, he helped continue the development of players Parker Collins, Colby Gossett and Beau Nunn. He also helped Victor Johnson become a two-time first-team all-Sun Belt Conference left tackle.

In the New Orleans Bowl last Saturday, Clark served as the team’s top offensive play caller. The Mountaineers rolled by Middle Tennessee State 45-13, using a pair of trick plays that resulted in passing touchdowns for wide receiver Malik Williams.

Appalachian State averaged 240.4 rushing yards per game this past season behind Clark’s offensive line, which featured three all-Sun Belt linemen (Johnson, center Noah Hannon and right tackle Chandler Greer).

Clark played at Appalachian State from 1994 to 1998, and he’s been coaching since 2003. After serving as a graduate assistant at Louisville for the 2001 and 2002 season, Clark has worked stints at Eastern Kentucky (2003 to 2008), Purdue (2009 to 2012) and Kent State (2013 to 2015) before coaching with the Mountaineers.

Smith played at Appalachian State from 2007 to 2010. Last year was his first season on the Mountaineers coaching staff, working with outside linebackers. Smith was a defensive analyst for the program in 2017. He also served as the team’s director of recruiting relations in 2016. 

A two-time All-American, Smith was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. He played four seasons in the National Football League (NFL).

Smith finished his Appalachian State career with 50 straight starts and 525 tackles, good for second all-time in program history behind Dexter Coakley.

Satterfield, who was Appalachian State’s head coach for six seasons before leaving for Louisville earlier this month, has taken five of his former Mountaineer staff members with him to serve on his staff there. They include: assistant head coach and defensive line coach Mark Ivey, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Dale Jones, defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach Bryan Brown, passing game coordinator Frank Ponce and running backs/special teams coordinator Stu Holt.

Ivey served as Appalachian State’s interim head coach in the New Orleans Bowl.