BOONE, N.C. – In celebratory fashion, Appalachian State University and the Department of Athletics recognized the milestone of 50 years of women’s sports at App State this past weekend. Current and former female student-athletes came together for a Trailblazers Dinner, recognition at the App State football game and a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the field hockey program’s new fieldhouse to highlight the weekend festivities surrounding the year-long anniversary celebration.
The Trailblazers Dinner, hosted by ESPN radio host, football sideline reporter and App State alum Molly Cotten, took place on Friday evening in the Roess Dining Hall to honor individuals as leaders in the success of women’s sports at Appalachian.
Women were flipping through the pages of old photo albums from their time at App, sharing smiles with former teammates and lifelong friends. The inaugural field hockey team even broke out in chant as they once did on the grass field at Durham Park.
Welcoming all former student-athlete alumnae, Chancellor Sheri Everts shared a few remarks.
“That 1968 field hockey team proved they deserved an opportunity,” Everts said.
When Jan Watson took the podium, she told the story of the beginning of women’s sports at Appalachian. Speaking to a crowd of more than 160 women, Watson shared how she walked into her interview for the coaching position wearing her field hockey kilt and carrying her stick in hand.
Appalachian State honored seven individuals as trailblazers Friday evening: Jan Watson (field hockey head coach), Jim Jones (former Director of Athletics), Carol Almond (women’s basketball), Judy Clarke (first senior women’s administrator, volleyball head coach & women’s basketball head coach), Janet Gordon Hall (first triple sport hall of fame inductee from women’s tennis, volleyball and women’s basketball), Melissa Morrison Howard (first Appalachian Olympian, track & field) and Linda Robinson (first woman athletics director at App State, women’s basketball head coach).
The celebration continued Saturday when 250 former female student-athletes were recognized between the first and second quarters at the football game. As they were awaiting their cue to walk onto the field to be recognized, they shared a moment of celebration with App State running back Jalin Moore as he scored the Mountaineers’ fourth touchdown of the game after an 81-yard run.
The weekend’s events wrapped up Sunday as App State Field Hockey took on ACC opponent Louisville. A special ribbon-cutting ceremony took place before the start of the match to celebrate the unveiling of the new Brandon & Erica M. Adcock Field Hockey Complex. App State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin and field hockey alum Erica Adcock expressed their sincere appreciation for all the donors and alums who contributed to a historic past and a bright future for the program.
More than 100 field hockey alumnae were recognized during halftime. Some brought their own field hockey sticks with them onto the field and hit a ball around with each other as if they’d never stopped playing.