interview with APP's new AD
Cobb looks to transform athletic program
Thursday, 28 July 2005
by BRAD NORMAN
Director of athletics Charlie Cobb is a busy man.
He’s been on the job for less than a month and has already visited several areas throughout the state to speak to Yosef Club members.
He has also begun formulating his plan to take Appalachian athletics to the next level.
Since July 1, his official starting date, Cobb said his main goal has been to be visible.
“Basically, from a short-term perspective, I have an A-1 and an A-2 in terms of a priority list,” Cobb said.
“A-1 is basically trying to be as visible as possible and meet as many people as I can: students, student-athletes, coaches … people internal to the university.
“And then also, more external with donors and boosters, friends of the school and people in the community.
“The second, A-2 on that list, is trying to develop a facilities plan that will impact all of our sports in terms of saying ‘how do we get to where we want to be’ from a facilities perspective. I know things have been talked about here for several years … and they’re tossed, they’re discussed and I’m trying to put my arms around that.”
Cobb is also in the midst of moving his family to Boone and seeking temporary shelter while their new house is built.
Cobb said there is also a need for more revenue generated by donations through the Yosef Club.
“We need as many people as possible to join Yosef Club,” Cobb said.
“Our goal this year, and it’s an aggressive goal to be quite honest, is to raise $1 million for scholarships. If we were to fully fund all our sports, we would need $3 million, so we’re not even close.
“Contributions to the Yosef Club have risen about 1 percent over the last five years and we have the same number of donors we had 10 years ago. If we are going to succeed in athletics, we need to get more people involved in the Yosef Club.”
Cobb said with less than one-third of all scholarships being paid for through donations, the department of athletics’ operating
budget must use approximately 70 percent of its total budget allotment to make up the difference.
Getting more alumni involved in Yosef Club and generating more money toward scholarships is only one tenet of Cobb’s overall plan, which he has dubbed “Catch the Spirit.”
The second tenet is to transform the “game day experience” for football games.
“[I’ve been working with] David Jackson, Andy Massey, Beth Alexander for a renewed game day experience for football games here in Boone,” Cobb said.
“Homecoming is a special event around this place and everybody wants to come back for Homecoming. We’re trying to put a plan in place [so that] every Saturday is Homecoming. We need that stadium full every game.”
Tenet number three in the “Catch the Spirit” platform is something Cobb called the “Spirit of Appalachian.”
“It’s the pride of wearing black and gold,” Cobb said. “As an Appalachian student, as a fan, as a supporter … buy an Appalachian license plate for your car. It spreads the word about Appalachian.
“Put stickers on your car, put a house flag up … be proud of being an Appalachian fan and show it and let people see it.”
Part four is simply having support from as many people as possible when Appalachian comes off the mountain, whether it is an athletic event or a rouser.
Cobb’s plan of a renewed game day experience comes at a crucial point in Appalachian State football.
The football team is coming off of a 6-5 campaign where they went 6-0 at home and 0-5 on the road.
Appalachian will play away from Boone seven times this year.
The past two years, the team’s record is 13-9 and they have not made a playoff appearance.
Although overall a 59 winning percentage is respectable, it is well below the average for head coach Jerry Moore’s career (.676).
Before the last two year’s campaign, ASU made the playoffs from 1998-2002.
The winningest coach in both school and conference history, Moore returns a lot of starters from last year’s team.
He is also in the final year of his contract, so this could be a make-or-break season for Moore.
Cobb said he and Moore have not discussed his contract situation.
“I’ll be honest, I spent maybe 30 seconds thinking about it one night,” Cobb said. “[Moore] is the best coach in the history of the school … his record speaks for itself. He knows he’s got some challenges ahead of him and he’s expecting great things from this team.
“He’s very confident in his team and that’s what we’re going to focus on.
“How things happen six months from now, or six weeks from now or two hours from now … if we could all predict the future I think we’d probably all be in the stock market.”
The Appalachian football program has also been the topic of a debate for several years: the possible transition from Division I-AA to I-A.
“We’ve got to get ourselves in a position to be the best we can be,” Cobb said regarding the future. “We’ve got a long way to go in terms of selling football season tickets, scholarships for athletes, facilities … we’ve got a bunch of questions to answer before we can really think about that.”