Notes and facts from AD Doug Gillin’s fall press conference

Silas Albright, Reporter

“You can make a case that 2018-19 was the most successful year in Appalachian State history.”

— Doug Gillin

App State athletics had a tremendously successful 2018-19. Football, wrestling, women’s cross country and women’s tennis, brought home conference championships. Football also won its fourth straight bowl game. Women’s basketball won the Women’s Basketball Invitational Championship, volleyball won the Sun Belt East Division and baseball and softball both made the Sun Belt tournament for the first time.

“You can make a case that 2018-19 was the most successful year in Appalachian State history,” Director of Athletics Doug Gillin said. 

Competing athletically isn’t the only thing Gillin is focused on. He said App State athletics has had 14 straight semesters with an average GPA over 3.0, and they finished sixth in the country in community service last year, with over 10,000 service hours. 

“So, collectively when I look at those three areas, it’s hard to debate that it was, if not, the most successful year in Appalachian State athletics academically, socially and competitively,” Gillin said. “It’s up there for debate with anybody that wants to debate the history of those three categories.”

Another topic for discussion within App State athletics is the various construction projects around campus.

“We are still on pace to have this open in phases starting in the fall of 2020,” Gillin said about the west end zone project in Kidd Brewer Stadium. “Literally any day now, we’re really going to start seeing concrete and steel starting to take shape.” 

Gillin also mentioned how he would like to eventually connect the east and west end zones of Kidd Brewer for more fan seating. 

“I kind of keep my eye on 2022 when North Carolina comes in here. What is that next phase between fall of ‘20 when we move in and fall of ‘22 when we know that UNC’s coming in here, and it’ll be pretty crowded?”

Gillin also provided an update on the Highway 105 construction project that will build new track and field and tennis facilities. 

“We had to change architects, slowed us down a little bit, and so we’re back on board with a new architect, got some new renderings and drawings,” Gillin said. “Hopefully, we’ll have the track done and the outdoor tennis done by summer to fall of next year. And then we’ll shift our attention to indoor tennis and softball.” 

The construction on West Campus and the end zone project will continue throughout football season.

“We’ve known this is going to be happening for a long time now. Everything we’re saying is, ‘Arrive early and stay late,’” Gillin said. 

The gates of The Rock will open two hours before kickoff this year and there will be added entertainment leading up until game time.

Aside from football, Gillin understands how important it is to have a successful men’s basketball program and he hopes to take a step towards that in 2019-20.

“To continue to be relevant in the world of FBS college athletics, you’ve got to be good at basketball. You’ve got to at least be average in basketball,” Gillin said. “We’re going to give it all we’ve got to figure that out. That’ll start this year with (new men’s basketball head coach) Dustin (Kerns). We got the right coach; I know that for sure.” 

After such a strong year in 2018-19, App State athletics is set to try to build off that in 2019-20.