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Mark Ivey named Appalachian State Interim Head Football Coach

By Tim Gardner

Appalachian State University has a new head football coach—at least through Dec. 15.

Athletics Director Doug Gillin has named Mark Ivey interim head football coach, effective immediately, pending approval by the school’s Board of Trustees, which is considered only a formality. Gillin met with the school’s football players at 3:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon to inform them of Ivey’s appointment.

Ivey replaces Scott Satterfield on the interim basis. Satterfield was named head coach at the University of Louisville Tuesday afternoon. Satterfield met with the Appalachian State team Tuesday morning before traveling to Louisville, Kentucky to be announced as the Cardinals new coach at a press conference. 

Ivey will coach Appalachian State in the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 15 against Middle Tennessee State. The Mountaineers have won three consecutive bowls, the only program to win its first three bowls of school history.  

“I’m excited that Doug and the university trusts me with this fantastic program,” Ivey said. “I hope we’ll be able to provide a product in the New Orleans Bowl that our players and fans can be proud of. As always, I love being a Mountaineer, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve as interim head coach.”

Ivey has been an assistant coach at Appalachian State the past seven seasons, serving mostly as the Mountaineers defensive line coach. He also was named by Satterfield as assistant head coach at the beginning of this year.

Under Ivey’s direction, the Mountaineers’ defensive line has assisted their over-all defense in ranking among the nation’s best since transitioning from the lower-level Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to major level Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) play.

Before this season, Ivey helped Appalachian State rank in the top 20 nationally in total sacks during two of the previous three seasons. Appalachian State is sixth in both scoring defense and total defense this year. 

Ivey played for the Mountaineers from 1992 to 1995, starting his college career as a walk-on. After graduating, he went on to a 15-year career as a high school coach in Florida.

He coached at Port Charlotte, Cape Coral, Gulf Coast as an assistant before becoming head coach at Cypress Lakes (2002 to 2006) and Barron Collier (2007 to 2011). 

He then joined the Appalachian State staff in 2012, the last season of the Jerry Moore era. Ivey was retained by Satterfield when the latter was hired as head coach in late 2012.

It’s unclear if Gillin will remove the interim tag from Ivey and make him the Mountaineers 21st head coach in their rich history. A key determining factor may be if he leads Appalachian State to a victory in the New Orleans Bowl.  

Gillin announced Tuesday that he has commenced a national search to find the next leader of App State Football.

“I want to thank Scott (Satterfield) and his staff for their many years of service to Appalachian State University and our football program,” Gillin said. “We wish Scott and his family all the best moving forward. As we look for our next head coach, we will continue to build upon the proud history and tradition of Appalachian Football. Winning championships is the norm here, and we have a roster that is returning a nucleus of young student-athletes. This is a highly attractive job. I look forward to introducing our next head football coach to App Nation very soon.”

Many coaches with no ties to the Appalachian State program also will inquire about the vacancy. But besides Ivey, there are at least nine potential candidates who either played or coached (or both) for the Mountaineers or who still on their coaching staff, including: Tim Horton, Auburn running backs coach and recruiting coordinator; Dwayne Ledford, N.C. State offensive line coach and running game coordinator; Bryan Brown, Appalachian State defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach; Scot Sloan, Georgia Southern defensive coordinator; John Settle, Wisconsin running backs coach; Shawn Clark Appalachian State co-offensive coordinator (running game) and offensive line coach; Stacey Searels, Miami offensive line coach; Shawn Elliott, Georgia State head coach; and Ruffin McNeill, Oklahoma defensive coordinator.

Only Elliott and McNeill (East Carolina) have head coaching experience.

Horton appears to have to most versatile background. He served as an assistant at Appalachian State from 1990 to 1998, working with receivers, tight ends and running backs. The Mountaineers were in the I-AA playoffs five times during that stretch.

He later coached at Air Force, Kansas State and Arkansas before joining the Auburn staff in 2013. Horton played at Arkansas as a split end and punt returner, spending his junior and senior seasons there when former Appalachian State head coach Jerry Moore was as an assistant on the Razorbacks staff.

Settle is the only coach among those with coaching experience in the National Football League (NFL). He was as an offensive assistant with the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens (1995 to 1997). He also served as an assistant with the Carolina Panthers (2011 to 2012) and Cleveland again (2013).