Mountaineer at the helm: Shawn Clark officially named App State football head coach

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Mountaineer at the helm: Shawn Clark officially named App State football head coach

Courtesy App State Athletics

Courtesy App State Athletics

Courtesy App State Athletics

Silas Albright, Sports Editor

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Former all-American Mountaineer offensive lineman and assistant coach Shawn Clark was officially announced as App State’s 22nd head coach in program history Friday afternoon. 

“It is a great day to be a Mountaineer,” Clark said to open the introductory press conference. “First of all, I’d like to say that I’m humbled and honored to stand before you as the 22nd head coach of Appalachian State university.”

As an offensive lineman for the Mountaineers from 1994-1998, Clark was a three time all-conference selection and two-time all-American for App State coach Jerry Moore. Clark started coaching in 2001 as a graduate assistant at Louisville. After that he was an offensive line coach at Eastern Kentucky, Purdue and Kent State across 14 seasons before returning to his alma mater in 2016 under Scott Satterfield. 

“In 2004, we laid in bed and talked about this,” an emotional Clark said while motioning to his wife, Jonelle, seated across the stage. “(Becoming) the head coach at Appalachian State. And it is here. I can’t wait to be your coach.” 

Aside from coaching the offensive line on four straight Sun Belt Championship and bowl winning teams, Clark was the offensive play caller in App State’s 45-13 R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl win over Middle Tennessee State in 2018 after Satterfield’s departure for Louisville. 

“He has experience at both Power Five and Group of Five schools and is highly respected among his peers, his players, on campus and in the community,” Athletics Director Doug Gillin said in a press release when Clark was named coach. “His experience as a leader, play-caller and recruiter will help us to continue to raise our football program to new heights.”

Starters from this years team such as offensive linemen Noah Hannon and Victor Johnson, running back Darrynton Evans and quarterback Zac Thomas were in attendance for their new head coaches introduction. Many players, including Hannon, voiced their support for Clark as the next head coach in the days leading up to the announcement.

Hannon tweeted out his support and used the hashtag #Clark2020, which became popular on social media as more and more people got behind the movement for Clark to be the next head coach. 

Also in attendance was Clark’s head coach during his playing days at App State Jerry Moore, who Clark expressed his gratitude for. 

“Head football coach Jerry Moore, if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here,” a teary-eyed Clark said. “As long as I’m the head coach, you are always welcome in this building.”

Clark will coach his first game as a collegiate head coach on Dec. 21 as the Mountaineers travel to their second straight R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to take on UAB. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET (8 CT) and the game will air on ESPN.