By Tim Gardner
Shawn Clark will be named Appalachian State University’s 22nd head football coach on Friday, according to school sources.
The university’s board of trustees will hold a conference call on Friday to approve the hiring.
Clark has been at Appalachian State the last four seasons as the offensive line coach. He was named interim head coach for the school’s New Orleans Bowl game on Dec. 21, but will now have the interim tag removed.
Clark received support from current and former players to fill the head coaching job since Eliah (Eli) Drinkwitz resigned last weekend to become head coach at the University of Missouri.
Drinkwitz was Appalachian State’s head coach for one season after three years as North Carolina State’s offensive coordinator.
Clark was a two-time All-American (1996 and ‘98) and three-time all-Southern Conference selection (1995, ‘96 and ‘98) as an offensive guard at Appalachian State from 1994-98. A four-year starter, he entered the lineup as a true freshman in 1994 and earned third-team Associated Press All-America honors as a junior in 1996. He missed the entire 1997 season due to injury but returned as a fifth-year senior in 1998 and was named a first-team Walter Camp All-American.
Clark graduated from Appalachian State in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He earned a master’s degree in education from Louisville in 2003.
After ending his playing career, Clark coached at Louisville (graduate assistant – 2001-02), Eastern Kentucky (offensive line – 2003-08), Purdue (offensive line – 2009-12) and Kent State (2013-15) before returning to Appalachian State in 2016.
Clark’s hiring comes at a crucial time. Besides preparing the Mountaineers to play Alabama-Birmingham in the bowl game, the 72-hour early signing period will open and close, starting on Dec. 18.
Appalachian State currently has 15 commitments for the 2020 signing class, five of them from North Carolina.
Also, Appalachian State athletics director Doug Gillin will reportedly be remaining in his post. Gillin was a candidate for a similar position at the University of Cincinnati.