By Tim Gardner
Appalachian State assistant coaches Bryan Brown and Frank Ponce are joining the University of Louisville football coaching staff right away.
They will become the first hires made by Scott Satterfield, the six-year Mountaineers head coach who was named earlier this week as the new head coach of the Cardinals.
Brown was thought to be a possible candidate to replace Satterfield as Appalachian State’s head coach, but instead will be the defensive coordinator at Louisville. He filled the same role this past season for Satterfield at Appalachian State. His appointment at Louisville may mean he was not going to be under consideration for the Appalachian State head job. It’s unclear what role Ponce will fill at Louisville.
Brown and Ponce were members of Satterfield’s original Appalachian State staff, when he became head coach in late 2012, with the 2013 season his first as head coach.
Mark Ivey, the assistant head coach and defensive line coach, has been named the interim head coach for Appalachian State. He will coach the team against Middle Tennessee State in the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 15. The Mountaineers have won three straight bowl games and have been either been outright or Co-Sun Belt Conference champions the past three seasons. They beat Louisiana-Lafayette 30-19 in the league’s inaugural championship game Dec.1.
It would appear with Ivey’s appointment as interim head coach that he would be the most likely successor to Satterfield if Athletics Director Doug Gillin hires a current Appalachian State coach. However, there are several active assistants in college and professional football who either played or coached, or both, at Appalachian State, who also are candidates for the job.
Following the departures of Brown and Ponce, eight assistant coaches remain on the Appalachian State coaching staff: Ivey, Shawn Clark (co-offensive coordinator/offensive line), Dale Jones (co-defensive coordinator/inside linebackers), Nic Cardwell (tight ends), Greg Gasparato (safeties), Stu Holt (running backs/special teams), D.J. Smith (outside linebackers) and Justin Watts (wide receivers/recruiting coordinator).
Brown has been on Appalachian State’s staff since 2012, starting as the cornerbacks coach in the final season of Coach Jerry Moore’s tenure. Brown took over defensive coordinator duties this season for the Mountaineers after Nate Woody left for the same post at Georgia Tech.
With Brown as the coordinator, Appalachian State’s defense ranked third in the country in total yards allowed per game this season (279.3) and in top 10 nationally in scoring defense (15.7 points per game).
Ponce has worked with Satterfield since the two were on staff at Florida International in 2010 and 2011. Satterfield hired Ponce at Appalachian State as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Satterfield returned to Appalachian State before the 2012 season as its offensive coordinator.
Ponce may be best known at Appalachian State for tutoring former quarterback Taylor Lamb, who finished his career there with 9,786 yards passing and 2,008 yards rushing. Lamb, now a graduate assistant on South Carolina’s football coaching staff, set the Appalachian State record for career touchdown passes with 90.