BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State football player Noah Hannon wanted a picture taken with College Football Hall of Fame member Mack Brown and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Bob Griese, so he handed his phone to a willing photographer.
Doug Gillin, App State’s Director of Athletics, captured the moment for Hannon.
The second annual Legends Gala on Friday was a night to remember for many in a sold-out, eclectic crowd that brought together Appalachian sports legends, current App State coaches and student-athletes, Yosef Club members and national celebrities with High Country tries.
A year after Brown addressed the crowd at the inaugural Gala, Super Bowl-winning coach and title-winning NASCAR owner Joe Gibbs served as the keynote speaker at picturesque Camp Yonahnoka in Linville.
“It’s really just a cool event for Appalachian,” Gillin said. “It’s an opportunity to really wrap our arms around some of our folks that have done great things and given their all for Appalachian.”
Successful broadcaster Don Munson, a 1984 graduate of Appalachian, welcomed the crowd and introduced an App State Legends group that included Hall of Fame football coach Jerry Moore, who was also presented The Order of the Long Leaf Pine by Yosef Club member Robert Fox. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which recognizes exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and a winner’s communities, is considered the state’s highest civilian honor.
In addition to Moore, the other App State Legends honored Friday night were Austin Adams (men’s golf), Sam Adams (men’s golf), Tom Adams (men’s golf), Brown (football coach), Marcus Cox (football), Bobby Cremins (men’s basketball coach), Kennan Gilchrist (football), Griese (Super Bowl-winning quarterback), Dino Hackett (football), Larry Hand (football), Mary Jayne Harrelson Reeves (track & field), Oval Jaynes (football player, coach and administrator), Doug Middleton (football), Moore, Scott Satterfield (current App State football coach), John Settle (football), Traci Blankenship Smith (volleyball player and coach), Ben Sutton (sports marketing) and John Weaver (recently retired coach of track & field and cross country).
Gibbs, a North Carolina native, won three Super Bowl titles as head coach of the Washington Redskins before starting Joe Gibbs Racing in 1992. He’s won four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships as a team owner living in North Carolina.
“It’s fun for me to get a chance to meet everybody here at App,” Gibbs said. “I’m down in Charlotte, and it seems like everybody I run into went to school at App, so I’m thrilled to be up here. I’ve got two grandsons that are going to be starting school at App this year, to be a part of App, and the whole Gibbs family is headed this way. It’s a big deal to us, and I’m thrilled to be here.”
Gibbs shared stories about his high-profile professional life with the crowd and stressed the importance of having the right priorities as several App State student-athletes listened to his message.
“It doesn’t matter where everybody here comes from, what they have — we’re all Mountaineers here,” Hannon said. “Everybody’s very friendly and everybody is here for the same reason — to make an impact. That’s what we’re going to do.”
“This is probably the nicest venue I’ve ever been to in my life” App State softball player Jenny Dodd added. “The significance behind what it means to be at the Legends Gala, the importance of the people that are here and the community it represents, it’s really cool.”
Please mark your calendars for Friday, June 21, 2019 — the date of next year’s Legends Gala at Camp Yonahnoka.
For more than 40 years, the Yosef Club has been aiding the 450-plus student-athletes at App State through scholarship, athletic facility enhancement and programmatic needs support. Individuals interested in making a gift in support of A Mountaineer Impact, A Drive for Excellence can contact Suzette Mauney, Assistant Athletic Director for Development, at 828-262-3108 or visit www.appstatesports.com.
The purchase of season football tickets is one way to contribute to the long-term success of App State Athletics, which has set a goal of reaching 7,500 season-ticket holders for 2018, and season tickets can be secured by contacting the ticket office at 828-262-2079 or clicking HERE.