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10 historic moments in App State sports history

10+historic+moments+in+App+State+sports+history

Something that makes App State quintessentially App State is its affinity for sports of all kinds; the university has 17 varsity sports teams, and even more club and intramural sports. 

Whether or not you’re an incoming freshman or a seasoned Mountaineer, sports can be integral to your time on this campus. To catch newcomers up on what will now become their history, here are some of App State’s biggest sporting moments to date.  

1. Conrad to Kidd Brewer – Stadiums over the years 

Although sports history at App State began at about the same time as the university did, the first major sporting event, after the establishment of organized football in 1928, was the building of the iconic Kidd Brewer Stadium. Before the stadium was known as Kidd Brewer or The Rock, the stadium opened as Conrad Stadium on Sept. 15, 1962.

Conrad Stadium, named for former university trustee William J. Conrad initially had 10,000 seats. As the university has grown and changed, the stadium has undergone numerous renovations which have taken its capacity to 30,000 seats and has changed its name to Kidd Brewer Stadium in honor of former App State football coach Kidd Brewer. 

The creation of this stadium, through all its changes, signals the beginning of the formidable legacy of Mountaineer athletics and the importance of sport in this community. 

2. Baseball: Southern Conference Tournament win 1984

Another major moment in App State sporting history is the men’s baseball team winning the Southern Conference Tournament in 1984. This was the league’s first championship that was held since the Atlantic Coast Conference was formed in 1953. 

App State baseball was the No. 1 seed in the double elimination tournament. They won in the finals 6-1 against the Citadel, winning both the Southern Conference regular season and the Southern Conference tournament. 

This win was not only the lone title win in program history, but it secured an automatic bid for the Mountaineer’s to join the 1984 NCAA Division I baseball tournament. 

While Mountaineer baseball has had some formidable seasons since then, the success of the ‘84 season, evidenced by the title win, is one of the programs most memorable. 

3. Moore than a football coach – Jerry Moore hired as football head coach 

Jerry Moore poses next to his statue outside Kidd-Brewer Stadium. App State hired Moore in 1989 and as head coach led them to a record of 215-87. (Max Correa)

Coach Jerry Moore is one of the most iconic figures in App State football history. Moore was first hired in 1989 as head coach, a position he served in until 2012, the longest a football head coach has served in App State football history. Under Moore, App State saw distinguished players such as Armanti Edwards and Taylor Lamb.

Moore’s leadership allowed Mountaineer football to have some of their most groundbreaking performances, including, but not limited to their 2002 and 2007 victories as well as winning three straight national titles in 2005, 2006 and 2007. It is because of Moore’s success and his elevation of the college football game to new heights that he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and the Southern Conference Hall of Fame in 2014. 

The legacy of App State football is undeniably tied to the legacy and impact of coach Moore.

4. The 2007 victory against Michigan

If you ask any App State football fan about Michigan, they can tell you where they were and what they were doing

App State infamously upset the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the programs first ever top ten win. (Courtesy of App State Athletics)

on that day Sept. 1, 2007. This was a match played between the Mountaineers and the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Michigan was ranked No. 5 in the Football Bowl Subdivision going into the match, and App State was ranked No. 1 in the Football Championship Subdivison going into the game. With 1:37 seconds left in the match, App State drove the ball 69 yards and scored a field goal resulting in a score of 34-32 to App State.

Michigan was unable to score after regaining possession in the remaining six seconds of the match and the Mountaineers won 34-32, ending Michigan’s hope of winning a national championship. 

It is still widely regarded as one of the biggest upsets in college football history. 

5. Division change – App State joins the Sun Belt Conference

From 1928-30 App State football was designated as “independent,” meaning they didn’t belong to any conference. Eventually in 1931, they joined the North State Conference in Division II of the NCAA and stayed there until 1961. 

In 1961, they joined the Carolina’s Conference where they stayed until 1967. From 1986-1971, they became independent once more until 1972 when they joined the Southern Conference, graduating them to Division I athletic competitions. 

They stayed in the Southern Conference, and the FCS, until 2013-14 when App State announced they were invited to join the Sun Belt Conference, the league they still play in to this day. 

It was the move to the SBC that graduated App State football from a Division I FCS school to a Division I FBS school; this increased the rigor of opponents and notability of App State football. 

6. Men’s club soccer returns in 2015

At App State there are three levels of athletics that one can become involved in: intramural, club and varsity. While App State had a varsity men’s soccer team that joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2014 when the conference reinstated it, they also reestablished their men’s club soccer team in 2015. 

The club was reinstated in 2015 when then senior Ryan Bateman and former team member Bradley Harrington reinstated the club with the help of App State biology professor Shea Tuberty. 

Bateman went to inquire about the reason for the club’s suspension. Tuberty told him the club was suspended when previous officers of the club were not attending the mandatory twice-a-month meetings, an infraction of the requirements laid out in the club sports manual. 

Additionally, Tuberty also told Bateman about an incident when a first aid kit had been returned to the school after an away game with tequila bottle caps in it. 

With those two events, men’s club soccer at App State was suspended. Since the club’s reinstatement in 2015, it continues to be an integral part of App State club sports, even winning the 2021 Division Championship title. 

7. Women’s soccer 2016-17 season

One of the most devastating injuries any sports player can sustain is an ACL tear. Over the four years leading up to the start of the 2016 season, App State women’s soccer had all of their upperclassmen players out with ACL tear injuries.

The 2016-17 women’s soccer team had a bounce back season after consecutive years of injury plagued rosters. (Olivia Lepard)

At the start of 2016 season, for the first time in four years, women’s soccer saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Not only were all of their key upperclassmen players back on the field for a full season for the first time in years, only one player was currently recovering from an ACL injury. 

While the season ended with a 10-8-2 overall record and the team placing fourth in the Sun Belt Conference tournament, what this season showed was promise. Not only promise, but a building of momentum that continues in the current App State women’s soccer side. 

While the 2016 season didn’t result in decisive victory, it laid the foundation upon which the current women’s soccer team still vies for success. 

8. App State 2020 Athletics Program Changes 

While 2020 was a memorable year characterized by a global pandemic, there was no area of university operations that the pandemic didn’t touch. 

While App State students were packing up their dorms and heading home, getting a longer spring break than they bargained for, little did three varsity sports teams know that it would be the last time they would lace up their cleats and step onto those courts. 

App State used to have 20 varsity sports teams it supported. In the wake of the financial stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, three of those sports teams were cut: men’s soccer, men’s tennis and men’s indoor track & field.

To this day only 17 varsity sports teams remain at App State and while there has been some call for reinstatement, due to lack of funding, the likelihood of this dwindles by the day. 

The ceasing of these three sports marked a major change in program history, and App State athletics still bears the scars of these changes. 

9. App FC Founding – 2020

While three sports were cut in 2020 as a result of financial stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, only one of those sports found a way to persist in the Boone community. When the team was cut from the program in 2020, former App State men’s soccer coach Jason O’Keefe, along with soccer executive Michael Hitchcock, joined up with a number of local business owners to create Boone’s very own men’s soccer team: App FC. 

App FC currently plays in the National Premier Soccer League, the fourth tier of the US soccer league system, and is in the midst of their third season. 

They play at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex and are coached by Dale Parker. The conception and origin of App FC marks one of the biggest moments in App State sports history as its conception was born out of the end of a program change that changed App State athletics and the Boone sporting community. 

10. App State beats Texas A&M

On Sept. 10, 2022 the Mountaineer’s faced the Texas A&M Aggies, ranked sixth in the week’s Associated Press poll. In an improbable feat, App State beat the Aggies 17-14. The win came as a result of a 63-yard drive followed by a 29-yard field goal. 

App State secured the second AP top ten win in program history after defeating Texas A&M Sept. 10, 2022. (Courtesy of Andy McLean, App State Athletics)

App State students celebrated by flooding down King Street and jumping in the duck pond. After videos of the pandamonium were posted online, ESPN’s College GameDay chose to visit Boone for the first time. 

While the win itself is notable, often being compared to the 2007 Michigan win, what will be remembered by the App State community for years to come is most assuredly the mayhem that resulted from it. 

Sports are a significant part of the culture at App State. As a student, be sure to cherish the sporting memories that will define your university career.

Correction: The previous timeline graphic included the wrong year for when App State was invited to join the SBC. The timeline has been updated to accurately reflect when they were invited.



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About the Contributor
Sarah Kruger, Reporter
Sarah Kruger (she/her) is a senior journalism major with a minor in chemistry. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
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