Coaching staff profile: Drinkwitz brings six new coaches with him, five coaches return to staff from 2018

Silas Albright, Sports Editor

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Including new head coach Eliah Drinkwitz, the App State football coaching staff has seven coaches in their first year with the program, while four members of the staff return from last year’s team.

Some App State fans were surprised and some were disappointed when former head coach Scott Satterfield accepted the same position at Louisville just before the Mountaineers played their bowl game in 2018. When Drinkwitz was named the 21st App State head football coach on Dec. 13, reactions were mixed. 

Some were expecting the new coach to have more personal ties to App State than Drinkwitz did, but his resume spoke for itself. Although Drinkwitz was not a head coach before arriving in Boone, he racked up an 8-0 bowl record as an assistant. 

In 2010, he was a quality control assistant for the 14-0 Bowl Championship Series champion Auburn Tigers. In 2014, Drinkwitz helped Boise State to a 12-2 overall record and a Fiesta Bowl win over Arizona as the tight ends coach. 

After a promotion to offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2015 at Boise State, he accepted the offensive coordinator position at NC State in 2016. The Wolfpack offense thrived under Drinkwitz, averaging 35.6 points per game in 2018. Its quarterback passed for nearly 3,800 yards and the team had a 1,000 yard running back for the third straight year. NC State also had two 1,000 yard receivers. 

Before the start of his first season at App State, Drinkwitz named Ted Roof his defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach. Roof brings over 30 years of college football coaching experience.

“I’m really excited to be part of the App State family,” Roof said. “I’ve admired and respected the success of the football program here for a long time because of the great coaches and players that have come through here. It’s our job to uphold that standard and enhance it.”

Drinkwitz named Charlie Harbison his associate head coach and cornerbacks coach. Harbison is in his 27th year of coaching and his teams have made 20 bowl appearances. 

“Coach Harbison has great wisdom and insight,” Drinkwitz said. “He understands that it is bigger than football and is a great role model to our players.”

Erik Link was named special teams coordinator, Garrett Riley as running backs coach, Anwar Stewart for defensive line coach and Pat Washington is the wide receivers coach. 

Although Satterfield took a few of his assistants with him to Louisville, four of Drinkwitz’s coaches were with the team last season. Shawn Clark is back as an assistant head coach/O-line coach, Greg Gasparato returns as the safeties coach, D.J. Smith coaches outside linebackers for the second year and Justin Watts is the tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator. Last year, Watts was the wide receivers coach as well as recruiting coordinator. 

Drinkwitz and his new staff moved to 1-0 after the Mountaineers blew by East Tennessee State 42-7 in their season opener Aug. 31.