August 5, 2020 Appalachian State University is anticipating starting its 2020 season on the first Saturday in September as the Sun Belt Conference announced on Tuesday that all conference teams would start play over Labor Day weekend. Sun Belt teams will play eight conference games and are allowed to play up to four non-conference games. Right now, Appalachian State is actively searching for two opponents to fill open spots on their schedule, including for the season-opener on September 5. The Mountaineers were originally scheduled to play FCS opponent Morgan State, however, the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC) that Morgan State is a member of has decided to suspend all fall sports due to COVID-19. The other open spot on the schedule, September 19, came open when the Big 10 Conference (B1G) announced that their teams will play 10 conference games and no non-conference games this year, putting a cancelation on the Mountaineers’ trip to Madison to take on the University of Wisconsin. By Nathan Ham
July 30, 2020 The North Carolina High School Athletics Association Board of Directors have voted to allow public schools to move to Phase 2 of its reopening plan amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Phase 2 will start August 3 in the NCHSAA’s summer guidelines for athletics. However, this governing body of public prep sports in the state did not remove many restrictions from its opening phase. The NCHSAA has said it plans to allow teams to begin fall practice September 1. Individual school districts may determine whether or not its local schools will participate. NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker commented about Phase 2: “Each NCHSAA Board Member believes in the value of education-based athletics and is committed to safely offering a fall, winter, and spring sports program during this school year; however, there is also a commitment to the health and safety of students and coaches.” By Tim Gardner
July 17, 2020 The App State Mountaineers has already lost two non-conference games from its 2020 football schedule and with the chance to lose at least one more game. The Big 10 Conference recently announced that their conference programs would only be playing conference games this season with consideration given to playing local teams to fill out schedules. This meant that App State’s trip to Madison on September 19 would not be happening after all. On Thursday, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) announced that the conference would be canceling all of its fall sports for 2020. This decision also affected App State’s football schedule as the Mountaineers were scheduled to open the season on September 5 at home against Morgan State, one of 11 teams in the MEAC. Questions also surround the Mountaineers scheduled game on September 11 at Wake Forest. By Nathan Ham
July 16, 2020 Following North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s announcement July 14 regarding school openings, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA), the governing body of prep sports in the state, announced today that the start of high school fall sports will be delayed until at least September 1. The delay is due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that is sweeping America and some other nations around the world. The NCHSAA’s Board of Directors make the decision to delay the start of fall sports. By Tim Gardner
July 10, 2020 College football is facing an uncertain future for this fall, but most teams are still working out and preparing as if there will be a season. Appalachian State is one of those teams. Head coach Shawn Clark spoke with multiple media outlets on Thursday, highlighting what the Mountaineers are doing in preparation for the season. So far, players have been participating in voluntary workouts without interaction from coaches. Monday, July 13, marks the beginning of mandatory workouts where players can interact with coaches for eight hours a week with six of those in the weight room and two hours of film study. Things ratchet up on July 27 when the 20-hour rule comes into play, meaning on-field walkthroughs and individual position meetings with members of the coaching staff. Right now, athletes are only able to meet in groups of 10. By Nathan Ham
July 10, 2020 The High Country Senior Softball League recently resumed play and will continue to gather on the softball diamond through October every Monday and Friday. The league, which is open to all seniors ages 60 and over, will play in Boone at the Watauga County Parks and Recreation fields off of State Farm Road each Monday at 9:30 a.m. and will play in Newland at Avery County Parks and Recreation’s ROCK field each Friday at 9:30 a.m. This is the fourth year of the league after first being organized in 2017. With the COVID-19 pandemic going on, a lot of things have changed for the softball league this year. According to Bert Valery, who helps organize the local teams, he said they went from having seven teams playing on 10 different fields down to just two teams playing at two locations. By Nathan Ham
May 27, 2020 In response to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and in an effort to position App State Athletics for future success, Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Tuesday that the department is reducing its operating budget and discontinuing the varsity sports of men’s soccer, men’s tennis and men’s indoor track & field. Effective immediately, the three sports are being discontinued following a detailed review of the university’s sport offerings and the long-term budget implications of supporting the current number of student-athletes. The decision was supported Tuesday by Chancellor Sheri Everts and the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees.
May 26, 2020 The specially branded NASCAR Xfinity Series car driven by Kyle Busch produced a familiar finishing position for App State: first place. The Black and Gold No. 54 car featuring App State logos as well as a congratulatory message for App State’s graduating seniors in the Class of 2020 made a dramatic last-lap pass and crossed the finish line first Monday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, giving Busch a win in the Alsco 300. Holding the checkered flag during his on-track interview with FS1, Busch delivered another message to App State’s recent graduates and even referenced the historic upset of Michigan from 2007.
May 14, 2020 Avery Moves! is a Virtual Race (Walk, Run, Bike, Move) from your home or outdoors! Proceeds will be split evenly to benefit these five organizations that are meeting critical needs in Avery County in response to CoVID19, We bet one of them has made an impact on you personally! Avery County Schools, Feeding Avery Families, Cannon Memorial Hospital, Avery County Senior Center, Williams YMCA of Avery County.
May 1, 2020 Drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Gander Mountain Truck Series will all get back on the racetrack in May even if there won’t be fans in the stands. Races start at Darlington Raceway with a cup series race on Sunday, May 17 in the sport’s official return to racing. “NASCAR and its teams are eager and excited to return to racing, and have great respect for the responsibility that comes with a return to competition,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, in a statement. “NASCAR will return in an environment that will ensure the safety of our competitors, officials, and all those in the local community. We thank local, state, and federal officials and medical experts, as well as everyone in the industry, for the unprecedented support in our return to racing, and we look forward to joining our passionate fans in watching cars return to the track.” It has been decades since the NASCAR Cup Series ran mid-week races, but the COVID-19 pandemic will force NASCAR to do just that if they want to come close to getting their original number of races completed. By Nathan Ham
April 27, 2020 Junior running back Darrynton Evans was the first of a pair of Appalachian State players to have their names called in the 2020 NFL Draft that took place Thursday through Saturday. Evans was selected in the third round with pick 91 overall by the Tennessee Titans. Senior linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither was the first pick of the fourth round on Saturday, going to the Cincinnati Bengals with the 107th pick overall. After the draft ended, two Mountaineers signed undrafted free agent deals. Linebacker Jordan Fehr signed with the Minnesota Vikings and safety Justin Thomas signed with the Buffalo Bills.
March 17, 2020 On March 16, the Sun Belt Conference announced that the league is canceling all organized athletics-related activities, including regular-season competitions, conference championships and practices, through the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. This decision was made in consultation with the league’s Presidents, Chancellors and Directors of Athletics to address growing concerns surrounding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). With all athletics events and practices canceled through the end of the 2019-20 academic year, App State is postponing the 2020 Mountaineer Spring Tour until further notice. The open football practice scheduled for March 21 and Pro Day scheduled for March 27 have been canceled. Stay tuned for updates on other events that are scheduled for later in the spring and summer.
March 2, 2020 High Country Soccer Association, in partnership with Appalachian Mountain Brewery (AMB), is excited to offer the 10th Annual AMB Premier Adult League this spring, with three levels of league play: Bronze, Silver and Gold. The skill levels of the players in the AMB Premier Adult League range from recreational players (Bronze) to highly competitive and former collegiate players (Gold Division). HCSA currently serves more than 300 adult soccer players (in addition to offering youth training) in the NC High Country. The Boone-based soccer club is always searching for new ways to continue building the local soccer community to include all players and skill levels. The registration deadline for the AMB Premier League is March 12, and the season runs from March 18 to early May.
March 2, 2020. Two matchups against Power Five Conference opponents with 2019 bowl appearances and a pair of nationally televised Sun Belt Conference games separated by seven days are among the highlights on a 2020 football schedule that includes two home games apiece for App State in September, October and November. Moving forward from a historic 13-1 season that ended with a top-20 national ranking and a bowl victory for Shawn Clark in his head coaching debut, the Mountaineers have six regular season home games with visits to Kidd Brewer Stadium from Morgan State (Sept. 5 season opener, Hall of Fame Weekend), Massachusetts (Sept. 26, Family Weekend), Louisiana (Oct. 7 for a Wednesday night showdown on ESPN2), Arkansas State (Oct. 24, Homecoming), Georgia State (Nov. 14) and Troy (Nov. 28, Senior Day for the regular season finale).
February 26, 2020 It wasn’t if Avery High would win the team title at the North Carolina High School Athletics Association State Wrestling Meet last weekend at the Greensboro Coliseum. It was just by how wide a margin the Vikings would dominate. They had five state individual champions, two state individual runners-up, one third place championship finisher and an over-all team title, which provide evidence of how much Avery overpowered the tournament field. Avery had seven wrestlers competing in 1-A classification’s individual final bouts February 22 and the rather impressive five state champions propelled the Vikings to secure their second state team title this month. Avery compiled a final total of 157.5 points, way ahead of the second place in the 1-A team rankings, Uwharrie Charter, which finished with 116 points. By Tim Gardner
February 12, 2020 Avery County High School had never won a state championship in any team sport until last Saturday, February 8. That’s when on a day fueled by emotion and punctuated with ultimate joy, the Vikings defeated Uwharrie Charter 35-30 to conclude a dream season and claim the North Carolina High School Athletics Association (NCHSAA) 1-A Dual Team Wrestling State Title. The State Wrestling Tournament finals were held in the Greensboro Coliseum Field House Annex. “The community support has been amazing,” Avery head coach Matthew Dunn said. “These wrestlers have worked so hard for this and we are so proud of them.” Zachary Vance secured the victory for Avery in the 285-pound division, defeating Sergio Saldana from Uwharrie Charter 7-0 to win by decision and seal the title ahead of Avery’s final two weight classes that were vacant of qualified participants. By Tim Gardner
February 11, 2020. App State head football coach Shawn Clark has hired longtime NFL coach Robert Nunn to the Mountaineers’ staff as an assistant coach with the defense. During his first 31 years coaching football, Nunn spent 19 seasons in the NFL and was a successful junior college head coach for nearly a decade before that. “We’re excited to welcome Robert and his family to Boone,” Clark said. “As a Super Bowl-winning assistant coach in the NFL and a head coach in junior college, he is going to bring a wealth of knowledge to our staff and players.” Most recently the defensive line coach for the New York Jets from 2017-18, Nunn was defensive line coach for the New York Giants when they caught fire in the playoffs and beat the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLVI. He also worked with the Cleveland Browns (2016), Giants (2010-15), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009), Green Bay Packers (2005-08), Miami Dolphins (2001-02, 04) and Washington Redskins (2003). In addition to the Giants, he also helped the Dolphins to multiple playoff appearances and the Packers to a pair of playoff games.
February 6, 2020. This Saturday’s home basketball game between Appalachian State and Texas State will give Mountaineer fans one more chance to celebrate the outstanding 2019 Mountaineer Football season. App State won its fourth straight Sun Belt Championship and a fifth bowl game in as many tries to put the finishing touches on an outstanding 13-1 season in which they finished 18th in the Amway Coaches Poll and 19th in the Associated Press Top 25. They also set a single-season record for wins by an FBS program from the state of North Carolina. Tip-off for Saturday’s basketball game is 4 p.m. at the Holmes Convocation Center. Members of the football team will be signing autographs in the concourse prior to the game. There will also be commemorative posters available, and head coach Shawn Clark will lead the way as the team is recognized on the court during halftime. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 3-12. Tickets can be purchased by contacting the ticket office at 828-262-2079, heading to appstatesports.com or visiting the ticket office at the Holmes Center. By Nathan Ham
January 30, 2020. Former App State tight end Nic Cardwell is back where it all started. The Kernersville native played at Appalachian from 2004-07 and spent seven years on the coaching staff before going to Louisville with former head coach Scott Satterfield. On Monday, App State head coach Shawn Clark announced that Cardwell is back with the program as an offensive assistant. “As an alum and former staff member here, Nic understands the championship culture at App State and he bleeds black and gold,” said Clark. “He will continue to help us push this program to new heights. We’re excited to welcome him and his family back to Boone. By Nathan Ham
January 27, 2020. Former Appalachian State and current University of North Carolina head football coach Mack Brown will be inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020, the organization has announced. The inductees will be enshrined during the Hall’s 57th annual banquet on May 1 at the Raleigh Convention Center. The N.C. Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1963. A permanent exhibit, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame is located on the third floor of the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh and features significant objects and various memorabilia donated by inductees. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. By Tim Gardner
January 24, 2020. As Shawn Clark begins his reign as the new football coach at Appalachian State University, he has started to pick his staff with new additions to the team and filling in positions that are now vacant. While the season is more than a few months away, we have already seen several of last year’s coordinators from Appalachian make departures from the program. Charlie Harbison, last year’s cornerbacks coach as well as working with the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, followed Eli Drinkwitz in his surprise move to the University of Missouri as an associate head coach/defensive coordinator. This may come at a somewhat underrated loss for the recuperating secondary for Appalachian, as senior and all-conference safeties Desmond Franklin and Josh Thomas will no longer be with the team in 2020 after graduating this Spring. Another notable loss for the Appalachian State staff is the departure of Garret Riley, brother of Oklahoma Head Coach Lincoln Riley, who will be heading to Dallas as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at SMU. Sunny Dykes, the head coach at SMU, praised Riley’s time at Appalachian State earlier this week, stating, “I think he’s a really good fit. By Colby Gable
January 16, 2019. A record-breaking season marked by firsts ends with more history — Top 25 rankings in both major polls for App State Football.The Mountaineers (13-1) are No. 18 in the final Amway Coaches Poll of the 2019 college football season and No. 19 in the final AP Top 25. They finished with the best record among the nation’s Group of Five conference teams — and tied for the third-best record nationally — while winning a fourth straight Sun Belt Conference title and improving their bowl record to 5-0. After totaling the 26th-most voting points in the final AP poll of the 2018 season, App State becomes the first Sun Belt team to conclude a season in the Top 25, and it has claimed the top spot among FBS teams from North Carolina for the second straight year. The Mountaineers’ first-ever appearances in the season-ending Top 25 polls double as their highest FBS rankings and the highest final rankings by a North Carolina team since UNC closed the 2015 season at No. 15 in both polls.
January 14, 2019. For the first time in program history, Appalachian State finished a season ranked in the top 25 in both the Associated Press Poll and the Amway Coaches Poll. The Mountaineers finished the year 18th in the Coaches Poll and 19th in the AP Poll. The polls were released this morning following last night’s national championship game that saw LSU defeat Clemson 42-25. The Mountaineers completed the 2019 season with a 13-1 record that included the team’s fifth bowl game victory in as many tries and the best record of any Group of Five conference team. This is also the first time a Sun Belt team has finished the season ranked in one of the two polls. The Mountaineers just missed that record after the 2018 season, finishing with the 26th most votes in the AP Poll. By Nathan Ham
January 8, 2020. Terms of new Appalachian State head football coach Shawn Clark’s contract were released to the public on Appalachian State’s athletics web site on Dec. 26, 2019. And thanks to the university’s financial generosity, the Head Mountaineer will likely never again struggle financially if he ever did. A trend the last 30-plus years of major college coaches making piles of money and being given various colossal incentive perks continues and Clark’s contract is similar to many of his head coaching peers. Clark signed a five-year deal with a base salary worth $425,000 per year on Dec. 13. The contract ran until Dec. 31, 2019 and then from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 per each year from 2020 through 2024. Clark is eligible for numerous bonuses, including a retention bonus of $15,000 a month per year of the contract. By Tim Gardner
January 7, 2020. Appalachian State was able to win just one of their three home games in the last five games, but it was certainly a game to remember on Saturday for App State fans who might have wanted to get a little revenge on Georgia Southern. Junior guard Justin Forrest poured in 25 points, including the game-winning three-point basket with less than a second left on the clock. Trailing by two points, Forrest proved to be too clutch for Georgia Southern as he nailed a step-back three-pointer to give the Mountaineers a 74-72 win. The play also appeared on ESPN’s Top Plays countdown. App State trailed by 10 points at halftime but was able to rally back and get the team’s third Sun Belt Conference victory of the young season. O’Showen Williams added 20 points in the win, Kendall Lewis had 11 points and Isaac Johnson scored eight points to go with seven rebounds. By Nathan Ham