Last Updated on January 25, 2024 12:48 pm
From the desk of Doug Gillin, Director of Athletics
I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and are having a great start to the new year. As the calendar has turned to 2024, I want to thank all of you for your tremendous support. I would also like to take a moment to reflect on many accomplishments in 2023, which would not have been possible without everyone’s belief in App State student-athletes.
For the 23rd straight semester – over 11 full years! – App State student-athletes achieved a cumulative GPA above 3.0. We are proud of our student-athletes’ dedication, and it’s a testament to our coaches recruiting high-quality student-athletes that compete in the classroom. Also, we cannot say enough about the hard work of our academic and support staff who promote a culture of pursuing academic excellence and integrity. Finally, we had a league-best 102 representatives on the Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll for 2022-23.
Our student-athletes have been active in the community, ranking 13th in the nation in the latest Division I rankings of community service hours accumulated in 2023. We are proud of their engagement with the High Country community and their eagerness to give up valuable time to help others. Our approach has always been you have to support others, in our community, if you would like them to support our endeavors.
The last year was full of competitive excellence across our men’s and women’s sports…
- Football won the Sun Belt East Division and a Cure Bowl championship.
- Led by SoCon Coach of the Year JohnMark Bentley, Wrestling captured the 2023 SoCon regular season and tournament titles and finished 20th in the final top 25 poll.
- Men’s Cross Country won the 2023 Sun Belt Championship under first-year distance coach Brad Herbster, who also earned Coach of the Year honors.
- Field Hockey won its first ever MAC regular-season championship, and Emily Dinsmore was voted MAC Co-Coach of the Year in her first season as a head coach.
- Baseball won 30 games for the first time since 2013 and posted victories over No. 8 Coastal Carolina and No. 16 Southern Miss.
- Softball earned its first win over a ranked team by beating No. 23 Louisiana.
- Tennis made its first postseason appearance in program history in the women’s tennis NIT.
- Calbert Guest was Sun Belt champion in the men’s steeplechase.
- Soccer finished third in the Sun Belt – its highest ever finish – and with its best NCAA RPI ranking (71st) since 2015.
- Men’s Basketball had an eight-game winning streak in the nonconference that included a historic home win against Auburn on ESPN2. That win marked the first of two national TV appearances this year, the first two in the history of the Holmes Convocation Center.
- Women’s Basketball already had two Sun Belt Players of the Week this season before the calendar turned to January.
For the third straight year, App State broke the all-time Sun Belt and school season attendance records with an average of 34,734 fans at Kidd Brewer Stadium. We sold out of season tickets for the second straight year. Thank you to who we feel are some of the most passionate fans in the country.
We are continuing the planning process for an expanded east side, as well as further enhancing the game day experience moving forward.
The Randy Marion Track & Field Facility opened in April 2023, giving our track & field student-athletes their own facility for the first time in program history. Construction has begun on other projects at the Appalachian 105 Complex, including a new fieldhouse, outdoor tennis facility and softball stadium.
It was a banner year for the Yosef Club, which saw a record 10,332 members join, including 4,411 non-students and 5,921 students. Total donations were north of $6 million, which is almost enough to cover the cost of all athletic scholarships. We cannot thank everyone enough for your support. The day is almost here when Yosef Club donations will completely cover the cost of athletic scholarships.
We saw more records in licensing royalties and sponsorship dollars in 2023, while philanthropic giving is also at an all-time high. The Block A logo is recognized across the region, country and globe. There were 1.95 million people watching our Cure Bowl victory on ABC, the biggest TV audience for an App State game since the 2014 move to FBS. Huge crowds have traveled to Boone for summer concerts by Luke Combs in 2021 and Darius Rucker last year. We’re excited to welcome another country star, Brad Paisley, to The Rock this summer.
Every day we are working to build facilities, hire and retain staff, and offer the best nutrition, strength and conditioning, mental health, academic support, life skills and other resources to give our student-athletes a second-to-none, world-class experience.
We ask all of App Nation to continue supporting the Yosef Club as well as NIL opportunities for our student-athletes. Information and directions can be found at MountaineersAthleticFund.com and AppStateNIL.com.
It’s great to be a Mountaineer!
Director of Athletics