Determining a Mount Rushmore of your favorite sports thing is a popular off-season past time. It spurs debate, discussion and sometimes anger. It makes people forget that there is an entire season before the season begins and...wait, there's still over 100 days til football season starts..I'm gonna go sob.
Anyway, when it comes to Appalachian State Football, the history and tradition is impressive. However, it is the belief of this blogger that there are three shoe-ins for the App State Football Mount Rushmore.
The first spot on the mountain goes to Jerry Moore, head coach from 1989 to 2012. When Moore was hired, he was three-plus years removed from a 16-37-2 stint at Texas Tech, never finishing better than sixth in the Southwest Conference. Many were skeptical, but the results speak for themselves. 245-132-2 record, 18 I-AA/FCS playoff appearances in 24 seasons, 10 Southern Conference championships, five semifinal appearances, three I-AA/FCS National Championships and the 2007 upset of the century over Michigan. Despite how controversial the end of Moore's tenure ended up, he left App State in a much better place than he found it.
When it comes to players, there are two that are constantly brought up as the best App State players ever. One on offense, one on defense.
The offensive player is no surprise. Armanti Edwards (QB, 2006-09) rewrote the quarterback record books at App State and in the Southern Conference. 10,392 passing yards for 74 touchdowns, 65.1% completion rate, 4,361 rushing yards for 65 touchdowns, two I-AA/FCS National Championships and two-time Walter Payton Award winner (best player in I-AA/FCS). Every week watching Edwards was like watching a human highlight reel.
For defense, the most dominant player to ever wear the Black and Gold is Dexter Coakley (ILB, 1993-1996). Coackley set the solo tackles record at App State with 616. He was Southern Conference Male Athlete of the Year in 1995 and 1996, Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year 1994, 1995 & 1996, All-American in those same three years and won the Buck Buchannon award as the best defensive players in all I-AA/FCS in both 1995 and 1996.
As part of a team, Coakley led the 1995 Mountaineers if a perfect 11-0 regular season record, the only time in the modern era it has been accomplished by an App State team. Coakley was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011 and his #32 was retired at App State in 2005.
So the first three members of App State's Mount Rushmore are the best coach, best offensive and best defensive player App State has ever produced.
For the fourth member of Mount Rushmore, the debate will surely start as it's being left in the hands of the voters. Below is a poll with several options. If there is anyone who was omitted, or if you think the App State Mount Rushmore is already wrong, let us know in the comments.