BOONE, N.C. — Title-winning App State alum and staff member Nic Cardwell is returning to the program as an offensive assistant, head football coach Shawn Clark announced Monday.
Cardwell, 35, played for the Mountaineers from 2004-07 and worked seven years in various roles with App State’s football program, including the 2018 season as the tight ends coach, before following head coach Scott Satterfield to Louisville.
In 2019, with Cardwell serving as a quality control coach at Louisville, the Cardinals completed an 8-5 season with a victory against Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl. The previous year, while working with Clark on App State’s offensive staff, he helped the Mountaineers win the inaugural Sun Belt Championship Game and beat Middle Tennessee in the New Orleans Bowl to cap an 11-2 season.
“As an alum and former staff member here, Nic understands the championship culture at App State and he bleeds black and gold,” Clark said. “He will continue to help us push this program to new heights. We’re excited to welcome him and his family back to Boone.”
During the 2018 season, when App State averaged 37.3 points per game, Cardwell’s tight ends combined for five touchdown catches and contributed to the Mountaineers rushing for 240.4 yards per game.
He was promoted following a 2017 season in which he worked in an offensive quality control capacity for a 9-4 team at his alma mater and saw App State’s tight ends account for a combined seven receiving touchdowns.
“This is a dream come true for my family and me,” Cardwell said. “We bleed black and gold. This is a job I’ve wanted for a long time. I’m more than excited to come back and be able to give back to this football program that gave so much to me. The opportunity to work with Coach Clark is going to be something special, and I’m ready to get started.”
Cardwell’s ties to App State run deep, as he played tight end on the three FCS national championship teams and finished his career as a co-captain.
He arrived at App State as an unheralded walk-on in 2003 and overcame a career-threatening neck injury to play in all 56 games for the Mountaineers from 2004-07. Four of his nine career receptions went for touchdowns, including FCS playoff scores against Coastal Carolina (2006 first round) and Richmond (two TDs in a 2007 semifinal).
Cardwell coached App State’s tight ends in 2008, when Ben Jorden made the All-Southern Conference first team, before returning to Boone as an assistant director of strength and conditioning in 2011 and coaching tight ends again in 2012. He worked with the Mountaineers’ tight ends as a graduate assistant from 2013-14 and coached the offensive line at North Greenville from 2015-16.
A native of Kernersville, N.C., Cardwell graduated from App State in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He and his wife, Kira, have one son, Kai, and one daughter, Blakeley.