BOONE, N.C. — The partnership between App State Athletics and the Boone Bigfoots was a rousing success in its first season.
The Bigfoots won the 2021 Textile League title with a 26-5 record while playing their home games on App State’s campus. As a non-profit summer baseball organization with a commitment to helping student-athletes, they also generated significant revenue to provide support for App State Athletics.
“Our partnership with the Boone Bigfoots was truly a win-win for both of us,” said App State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin. “The number of hours that (team president) Bob Wilson and his staff put in to make the Bigfoots successful was amazing. All their hard work over multiple days and weekends had a direct, positive impact on App State Athletics. They were also able to introduce a significant number of new people to App State and the App State Baseball facilities.”
Offering the residents of Boone and the High Country a summer baseball team that played at a championship level, the Bigfoots’ team of talented players and hard-working staff created a fun, entertaining, family-friendly atmosphere within Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.
That combination contributed to large crowds that allowed the Bigfoots to cover their expenses and devote the rest of their revenue to supporting App State Athletics.
“I can’t say enough about what a pleasure it was to work with Doug and the entire App State Athletics department,” Wilson said. “My goal was to engage the community, have great baseball and give back to the athletic department. I look forward to many seasons of the Bigfoots.”
Wilson, who lives in the High Country with his wife and two Australian shepherds, is an entertainment industry veteran with 35-plus years of experience directing or producing films and television series, including production of the popular “Cobra Kai” series on Netflix.
The team had many connections to App State, with App State volunteer assistant baseball coach Ryan Smoot serving as the Bigfoots’ head coach.
App State baseball staff member Matt Anders was Smoot’s assistant coach with the Bigfoots, while recent App State baseball alum Andrew Papp and App State softball standout Baylee Morton worked, respectively, as the operations manager and communications director. There were additional App State connections in areas such as social media, in-game productions and baseball analytics.