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The Appalachian

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The Appalachian

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App State alum contributes donation towards athletics fund

Players%2C+coaches+and+scouts+meet+in+between+drills+at+App+States+2023+Football+Pro+Day+inside+the+Sofield+Family+Practice+Center+March+30%2C+2023.
Ethan Smith
Players, coaches and scouts meet in between drills at App State’s 2023 Football Pro Day inside the Sofield Family Practice Center March 30, 2023.

App State alum Tommy Sofield and his family donated a sizable gift towards App State Athletics Wednesday, specifically towards athletic facilities improvements. 

“Appalachian State University means the world to my family and me,” Sofield said. “We are committed to the success of Mountaineer student-athletes on and off the field and carrying on the tradition of championships and a world class experience.”

Sofield, class of 1976, played football for the Black and Gold and was a captain for the 1975 team. Since graduating from App State, Sofield has been a real estate developer and businessman.

“We thank Tommy and the entire Sofield family for their generosity throughout the years,” App State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin said. “From his time as a student-athlete to supporting his alma mater as an alumnus, Tommy’s commitment to the success of App State Athletics is unparalleled.”

The donation will help to fund a new indoor football practice facility replacing the current Sofield Family Practice Facility, which opened in 2007. It currently features a full athletic training room, storage and offices.

The school also plans to include the construction of a fieldhouse, softball field, indoor and outdoor tennis courts at the Appalachian 105 facility.

“App State has long been the beneficiary of the generosity of the Sofield family,” said Chancellor Sheri Everts. “Tommy distinguished himself among his peers as a leader when he came to App State, starting a small business that employed other students while playing football and carrying a full-time class load. Since his graduation in 1976, he has become a pillar of the App State community, well known for his kindness and generosity, as well as his business acumen.”

With the donation, App State has raised $41 million towards the $100 million goal for the All for App initiative. Its purpose is to support and invest in the future of App State Athletics.

“This additional lead gift will continue to foster our Mountaineers’ competitive drive to excel in their sports as well as in the classroom, and will contribute to the recruitment, growth and development of future student-athletes for many years to come,” Everts said.

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About the Contributor
Ethan Smith
Ethan Smith, Sports Editor
Ethan Smith (he/him) is a senior journalism major, media studies minor. This is his third year writing for The Appalachian.
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  • M

    MuChaoNov 10, 2023 at 4:08 pm

    So when can students expect to see a refund on their student fees?

    If Tommy can afford to throw so much cash at the financial black hole that is Athletics, then the university needs to be cutting refund checks to each and every student who is forced to pay over $1000/year to subsidize the annual losses and ongoing debt from Athletics.

    If students can opt-out of the rental textbook program, why can they not opt-out of subsidizing Athletics? I’d love the see The Appalachian investigate that question.

    After all, the vast majority of students gain absolutely ZERO value from Athletics, and if anything, their time and education here suffers as a result. Especially those students who have student loans who will be paying interest on the money they’ve borrowed to help foot the >$1000/year bill for subsidizing athletics.

    The entire program is nothing but a swindle. Classrooms falling apart, broken classroom and lab equipment, (literally) crumbing infrastructure, faculty and staff struggling to pay bills and many quitting for better jobs elsewhere, but coaches and admins get to walk around with fat wallets whilst standing on the backs of students.

    If Tommy actually cared about the future of the school he’d be funding education.

    Reply