by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Appalachian State head football coach Jerry Moore has stepped down from that position after a 24-year career at the university.
Moore, who was not made available for comment Sunday, finishes his career at ASU with an overall record of 215-87. His Mountaineers went 8-4 this season and reached the Football Championship Playoffs, where they lost 38-37 to Illinois State.
He is the winningest coach in Appalachian State, and Southern Conference football history.
Appalachian State athletics director Charlie Cobb said plans for 2012 to be Moore’s final season began during the holiday season of 2011. He said an agreement was made with Moore that 2012 would be the coach’s final season, but the announcement would not be made until the season ended. Moore, 73, told the players he was stepping down during a meeting at 3 p.m., Sunday in the Mountaineers’ team room.
“After 2011, we talked about a long-term strategy of the football program,” Cobb said on a conference call Sunday. “We came to the conclusion that 2012 would be his last season. After yesterday’s gut-wrenching loss, we felt the need to make the decision and announcement and that it’s time to move forward as quickly as we can with the greatest respect for Coach and (Moore’s wife Margaret) as we can.”
Cobb did not say that Moore was fired, but said an agreement was in place for Moore to step down at the end of the 2012 season. Cobb said he wanted Moore to go out a champion. Appalachian State will not win the FCS national championship, but the Mountaineers’ shared the Southern Conference championship with Georgia Southern and Wofford.
“I really think it’s more accurate is the fact we sat down and analyzed where we were in the long term vision of where we want the program to go and the proper thing for (Moore) to do is go out as a champion,” Cobb said. “That’s what we’ve done. It’s never a great time, but there has to be a stopping point.”
Moore, who did not participate on the conference call, told Winston-Salem Journal columnist Lennox Rawlings after the game Saturday that he wanted to coach at least one more season.
“I haven’t thought about anything but coming back,” Moore said. “I know I’d like to coach next year. I know I’d like to coach one more year. I think at this point in my career I have to take it one year at a time. I don’t want anything except that I want this program back. I’ve still got an energy level that I look forward to recruiting, and a work ethic. I don’t put any less hours in today than I did 15 or 20 years ago, and I think my intensity around players is still there.”
Cobb said that the agreement that was in place before the season started and felt that Moore understood it. Cobb did not give a yes or no answer to a question if Moore had been fired, but referred to the agreement that was made before the season started.
“I think there is a difference of opinion,” Cobb said of Moore’s comments. “We had several discussions that were involved. At the end of the day, one person wants one thing and one wants another, so we have to agree to disagree.”
Cobb added the announcement of Moore stepping down could have been made before the season started, but Moore did not want it to be a distraction over the season, or any “farewell tour.”
“Coach wanted no part of that,” Cobb said. “He wanted (the season) to be about the kids and not himself and I agree with him.”
Assistant head coach Scott Satterfield takes over the program while a search for a new coach. Cobb said there were three basic items that a coach needs to have to be the head coach at Appalachian State.
“Number one, it has to be somebody who understands Appalachian State,” Cobb said. “We have a tremendous history here and we have high expectations. Secondly, they have to bring energy to the program. That’s the greatest indicator. He has to be somebody who embraces a challenge. And it has to be somebody who understands all of the things that makes the program special. He has to understand the trust and the respect that is Appalachian football. I’m sure there will be tremendous interest in the program.”
Cobb said Satterfield is a candidate for the position, but did not name any others who might be a candidate. Satterfield returned to Appalachian State this season, after leaving in 2009 to be an assistant coach at Toledo and Florida International, to be the ASU’s assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
He said one of the reasons he returned to Appalachian State was getting a chance to be the head football coach. Satterfield said no agreement was reached in that regard, but he is still interested in being the head coach.
“No question when I decided to leave four years ago to try to develop and to learn and grow, I felt it was a great time to come back last season,” Satterfield said on the conference call.
Satterfield said he had no knowledge of Moore’s plans to step down.
“I didn’t officially know until this morning,” Satterfield said. “It’s shocking to all of us. He’s such a fighter. He’s been that way the whole time here. He’s about how can we get better today and keep fighting to do better. That’s where his mindset has always been.”
Whether or not Satterfield is promoted to head coach, Cobb said he wants the former ASU quarterback to stay in the program.
“I hope he is a longtime part of Appalachian,” Cobb said. “He’s given half his life at Appalachian. He wants to be a candidate for the job and over the next several weeks, he has a good a shot as anybody.”
Moore has been involved in coaching for 51 years. His 31-year career record as a head coach, which included stops at North Texas State and Texas Tech, is 242-135-2, which is 15th place on the all-time wins list.
Moore guided Appalachian State to 10 of its 12 Southern Conference championships. He led the Mountaineers to three straight Division I-Football Championship Subdivision championships from 2005-07.
In 24 seasons, Moore’s teams had just one that was sub .500. That was 1993 when the Mountaineers went 4-7. ASU rebounded to go 9-4 in 1994 and 12-1 in 1995.
Appalachian State also won 26-straight SoCon games, the second longest streak in conference history. It was the longest streak in 51 years.
Moore won the 2006 Eddie Robinson Award, and was the American Football Coaches Association Award winner from 2005-07. He is also an eight-time SoCon Coach of the Year, and a six-time AFCA Regional Coach of the Year.
Moore also led Appalachian State to a 34-32 victory over then No. 5 Michigan in 2007. It was considered one of the biggest upsets in college football history. It was the first time an FCS-Division I-AA program beat a nationally ranked FBS-Division I-A program.
Moore also coached 257 All-SoCon players, 95 All-Americans. Included in those players were two-time Walter Payton Award winner Armanti Edwards (2008-09) and two-time Buck Buchanan Award winner Dexter Coakley (1995-96).