After nearly four decades of coaching track & field at his alma mater, Appalachian State head coach John Weaver – a 43-time conference coach of the year – announced Monday that he will retire after the conclusion of the 2018 outdoor season.
“I’ve been so very fortunate to have been part of the growth of this program, with so many wonderful student-athletes,” Weaver said. “It’s just time. It’s time for someone else to have their opportunity. In 47 years of coaching, I’ve probably had more opportunities than I deserve.”
What Weaver has accomplished as App State’s director of track & field and cross country has been nothing short of spectacular. Since becoming the first head coach of the women’s program in 1982 and assuming duties as the overall men’s and women’s head coach in 1995, there have been 101 track team conference championships won. Weaver has claimed 78 of them.
In addition to their massive success at the conference level, Weaver’s pupils have won national championships, earned numerous All-America honors and advanced all the way to the Olympic Games.
“In the short time I’ve been at Appalachian, I’ve been extremely impressed by the success of our track & field and cross country program and the impact Coach Weaver has made on generations of Mountaineer student-athletes and supporters,” App State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin said. “I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Coach Weaver these last three years. On behalf of the entire Mountaineer family, I thank him for all his years of service to our great university.”
A 1971 graduate of Appalachian State, Weaver taught biology and coached high school track & field until he returned to Boone in 1979 as a graduate assistant in the men’s program while earning his master’s in biology.
Since starting the women’s program in 1982, Weaver has overseen the women – including cross country, indoor and outdoor – achieve an NCAA Division I National Champion in the 1500 meters twice, nine NCAA Division I All-Americans with 23 All-American performances, 26 NCAA Division I qualifiers, two Sun Belt Conference team championships (women’s indoor and women’s cross country), 13 Sun Belt Conference individual titles, 63 Sun Belt all-conference performances (40 in track and 23 in cross country), one Sun Belt Conference Outstanding Track Performer, one Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year honor, 373 Southern Conference individual champion performances, 928 Southern Conference all-conference performances, 34 Southern Conference MVP athletes, 45 Southern Conference team championships, 27 Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors, 28 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year honors, 50 SoCon All-Freshman team honors, and two Southeast Region Coach of the Year honors.
In the Southern Conference, the women’s program accomplished seven triple crowns by winning the league title in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track in the same academic year. The women won 20 straight SoCon Championships from 1987 to 1993. Mountaineer women currently hold five SoCon indoor individual event records and 10 SoCon outdoor individual event records.
Weaver coached many accomplished women, highlighted by All-American Melissa Morrison-Howard, who won 12 SoCon individual titles and went on to earn a pair of Olympic bronze medals, and Mary Jayne Harrelson, the 1999 and 2001 NCAA 1500-meter champion.
After Weaver took over the men’s program in 1995, the Mountaineers have produced 10 NCAA Division I All-Americans, nine NCAA All-American performances, 37 Division I qualifiers, 178 Southern Conference individual champion performances, six Sun Belt Conference individual champion performances, 654 Southern Conference all-conference performances, 40 Sun Belt Conference all-conference performances, 29 Southern Conference MVP athletes, 30 Southern Conference team championships, one Sun Belt Conference team championship, 15 Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors, 59 Southern Conference All-Freshman team honors and one Southeast Region Coach of the Year honor. In the SoCon, the men’s program accomplished four triple crowns, and Mountaineer men currently hold five SoCon indoor individual event records and 11 SoCon outdoor individual event records.
“I am indebted to the staff members that have been part of our program over the years and who have done outstanding jobs,” Weaver said. “The team’s success has really come from the quality of student-athletes we’ve had and the quality of staff members, from coaches through support staff. I’ve worked under seven different athletic administrations here, and all their support has been uplifting and has kept our motivation to succeed at a high level.
“I’ve just been a very fortunate man to have the family that has supported me so much over the years and has made it easy for me to do what I need to for this program. That’s one reason I need to step aside and spend some quality time with my family now.”
Since joining the Sun Belt Conference, Weaver’s men and women’s teams have garnered 18 individual event titles and 89 all-conference honors. The men’s program had the outdoor MVP in its first year. He has played a vital part in two Sun Belt Conference cross country championships, seeing the women capture the title in 2016 and the men in 2017.
The Weaver-directed programs for men and women have not only accomplished athletic honors, but academically, they have distinguished themselves with 21 NCAA All-Academic team distinctions, 15 NCAA All-Academic women and three NCAA All-Academic men. There have been, on average, 35 of the program’s athletes on the semester honor rolls each semester since 1995.
Weaver worked as the Yosef Club Director (athletic fundraising arm of the ASU Foundation, Inc.) from 1982 to 1985. A native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, he has also taught classes in the education and physical education departments of the University and served as an assistant sports information director.
Currently, Weaver coaches the 800m and hurdles while overseeing all aspects of the track and cross country programs as its director. Weaver served on the NCAA Division I Track and Cross Country Committee from September 2006 until September 2010. He has served on the NCAA Track and Field Rules Committee and was a member of the USTFCCCA Championship Advisory Committee and served as the 2nd Vice President on the USTFCCCA Division I Executive Committee.
During the summer of 2012, Weaver was chosen as the sprints and hurdles coach for the women’s USA National Under 23 team that competed in Mexico.
Each summer, Weaver directs the Grandfather Mountain Marathon, The Bear Race and two Cross Country Team Camps. More than 900 athletes attend camp at Appalachian each summer for cross country teams.
Weaver is married to Cynthia Harmon of Lenoir, North Carolina and has two sons, Chase and Jay, both graduates of Appalachian.