By Nathan Ham
Fans, alumni and other school officials gathered on Monday morning to welcome new football head coach Eliah Drinkwitz to the Mountaineer family.
“Today is really a great day to be a Mountaineer. We know that what we do here encompasses and touches a lot of people and that’s why when you bring someone new into the family and give them a welcoming like this, it’s very impressive,” said Doug Gillin, the Director of Athletics at Appalachian State.
Drinkwitz, 35, was introduced as the 21st head coach in App State history on Monday at the Mark E. Ricks Athletic Complex.
“What truly makes this place so unique and so special is you,” Coach Drinkwitz said to a large crowd inside the athletic complex. “I really believe that people are the most powerful resource. The pride and tradition of championships is because of you and I’m certainly excited to be your new football coach and I couldn’t be any happier to bring my family to join the Appalachian State football and university family.”
Most recently, Drinkwitz served as the offensive coordinator at NC State under head coach Dave Doeren.
Coach Drinkwitz is no stranger to winning and will hope to bring that winning mindset to an Appalachian State program that is also proud of its winning tradition. He was on the staff as a quality control assistant when Auburn won the 2010 FBS National Championship. Drinkwitz was part of back-to-back Sun Belt Championships during his time as running backs coach and co-offensive coordinator at Arkansas State in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, Drinkwitz was the tight ends coach at Boise State when the Broncos finished 12-2 and won the Mountain West Championship. Following a season as the offensive coordinator at Boise State, Drinkwitz made the move back south to take over as the offensive coordinator at NC State in 2016. While leading the Wolfpack offense, the Pack finished 25th in the nation in total offense in 2017 and finished 16th in the nation this year. NC State also had three 1,000-yard rushers in all three of his seasons in Raleigh and has helped play a key role in Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley being one of the highest ranked quarterbacks heading into the upcoming 2019 NFL draft.
According to Gillin, the search for a coach to replace Scott Satterfield was a nationwide effort to find a perfect fit.
“This is a top 25 position, this is a highly-coveted position, it was a position that we went out and searched nationally for the right candidate,” Gillin said. “The history and tradition of all the folks that wore the black and gold here and all the folks that have cheered them on here is long, proud and rich, and that’s another reason that makes this such a special place.”
Drinkwitz will not only be the head coach but will also continue calling the plays as he has been familiar with during his time at Boise State and NC State.
The new coach says he wants to continue what has been working out so well at App State and continue the winning ways in the High Country.
“I am so excited to embrace the past traditions, history and success that this program has. I look forward to connecting with those past champions, with the players that were here that helped build this place and also continue to bring our own championships and continue that tradition of winning. It’s a very exciting place and an exciting time to be here,” Drinkwitz said. “Our stated goal is to win the Sun Belt Conference Championship and a bowl game with class, integrity and academic excellence.”
Coach Drinkwitz will be meeting with current coaches that are interested in staying on with the Mountaineers on Tuesday and will be hoping to fill out his staff before hitting the road for recruiting trips and the upcoming early National Signing Day period that lasts from December 19-21.
“When I think about App State football, when I think about the young men that I’ve been talking to on the phone recruiting, when I think about the staff that we’re going to start bringing together, pride, passion and purpose, those are the three things I’m looking for,” said Drinkwitz. “We’re going to attract highly qualified candidates who understand what it takes to win championships. The foundation of this program has been great for a long time. Appalachian State has been great long before I got here and will be great long after I leave.”
Drinkwitz, a native of Norman, Oklahoma, and his wife, Lindsey, have three daughters: Addison, Emerson and Ella.
Drinkwitz’s Coaching Career:
2005 – Alma (Ark.) HS – Assistant Coach
2006-09 – Springdale (Ark.) HS – Offensive Coordinator
2010-11 – Auburn – Quality Control Assistant
2012 – Arkansas State – Running Backs
2013 – Arkansas State – Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs
2014 – Boise State – Tight Ends
2015 – Boise State – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
2016-18 – NC State – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
Photos by Nathan Ham