Football

Appalachian State’s new AD hits road for Yosef Club Spring Tour

Doug Gillin, the new athletic director for Appalachian State, discussed his plans during an interview for the App State Yosef Club at the BB&T BallPark in Charlotte,  Wednesday, April 15, 2015.
Doug Gillin, the new athletic director for Appalachian State, discussed his plans during an interview for the App State Yosef Club at the BB&T BallPark in Charlotte, Wednesday, April 15, 2015. jkomer@charlotteobserver.com

Doug Gillin hasn’t been on the job very long at Appalachian State.

Yet even just a few days in as the Mountaineers’ new athletics director, Gillin is already on the road meeting with alumni during the school’s Yosef Club Spring Tour.

“I’m just trying to take it all in,” Gillin said during the Yosef Club’s stop at BB&T Ballpark on Wednesday. “It’s been great to be out on this tour with all of our fans and alumni. I’ve been listening to people and asking questions.

“Still, I certainly have some preconceived ideas of what our core values should be … things I’ve developed over time, and those are things I want to instill in our department.”

Gillin was named Appalachian State’s new athletics director in February, after a three-year stint as Missouri’s deputy AD. He replaced Charlie Cobb, who spent nine years as the Mountaineers’ AD before departing for Georgia State last year.

Gillin takes over an athletics program that is wrapping up its first full season in a new conference (Sun Belt) and new football division (Football Bowl Subdivision).

“When I was at Missouri and we made the move into the SEC (in 2012), we said it was going to be a 30-month transition,” Gillin said. “The same is true for Appalachian State. That’s not a magic number, but it takes a good period of time to learn everything.

“We’re through the first year, and in the next month or two, we’ll sit back and reflect on what we did well and what we can improve on moving forward.”

Showing the way: The Mountaineers’ football team overcame a lot in their first Sun Belt season, bouncing back from a 1-5 start to win six straight and finish third in the league standings.

That early success showed the rest of Appalachian State’s athletic teams that they could compete in the new conference, according to coach Scott Satterfield.

“We were the first team in the calendar year to be involved in the Sun Belt, and we didn’t know what to expect either,” Satterfield said. “We were still trying to build the program, and to finish third in an 11-team league was just outstanding.

“It gave some confidence to our whole athletic department that they could go out and compete, if they get the right student-athletes in their programs.”

Learning experience: Jim Fox thought he knew what it takes to be a head coach when he moved from Davidson to take over Appalachian State’s men’s basketball team.

As it turned out, Fox discovered he still had a few things to learn as the Mountaineers went 12-17 (9-11 Sun Belt) and finished sixth in the league standings.

“I learned what it takes to be a head coach at this level,” Fox said. “When I was an assistant coach, I thought I had all the answers. Now, I have accountability for every decision that’s made, and it’s on me. I have to make sure those decisions are the right ones. But you learn from them and move on.”

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