BOONE, N.C. — Head coach Eliah Drinkwitz added Ken Dorsey, a national championship-winning, two-time Heisman Trophy finalist and former Carolina Panthers quarterbacks coach, to his first Appalachian State coaching staff Sunday.
“Ken is a great teacher and communicator, and he has impeccable character,” Drinkwitz said. “He is a coach who understands championship standards. He has experienced success at every level and will provide great value to our players both on and off the field. We are excited to welcome him, his wife Jordan and his two daughters to the App Family.”
Dorsey, who is coming to Boone after helping Florida International to a Bahamas Bowl berth, will serve as an assistant on the offensive side of the ball on Drinkwitz’s staff.
Championships have followed Dorsey from his days as a title-winning quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes through his career as an NFL assistant coach.
As an assistant with the Panthers from 2013-17, Dorsey’s work with the quarterbacks helped the team win three NFC South division titles and the 2015 NFC Championship.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to join App State Football and a tremendous coach in Coach Drinkwitz,” Dorsey said. “In my time in Carolina, I was fortunate to experience what great fans, alumni and students App State has. App State has exceptional tradition, exceptional student-athletes and a die-hard fan and alumni base that makes it a special place. Thank you Coach Drinkwitz for this opportunity. I am excited to be part of your vision and part of an exciting future for App State Football.”
Dorsey helped Cam Newton become one of the league’s top quarterbacks, highlighted by Newton’s 2015 MVP campaign in which he led the NFL with 45 total touchdowns (35 passing, 10 rushing) and became the first player in league history to pass for 30 touchdowns and rush for 10 in a single season. Under Dorsey’s tutelage, Newton went on to set NFL records for most rushing touchdowns by a QB and most games with both a passing TD and rushing TD. He also became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for 50 career scores.
Dorsey went 38-2 as the starting QB at Miami, guiding some of the most highly regarded squads in college football history to three straight BIG EAST Championships, the 2001 BCS National Championship and a runner-up finish for the 2002 BCS National Championship. He led the Hurricanes to a 3-1 bowl record with a Gator Bowl win over Georgia Tech, Sugar Bowl win over Florida, Rose Bowl win over Nebraska (BCS title game) and Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State (BCS title game). He was co-MVP of the Rose Bowl (22 of 35, 362 yards, 3 TDs) and MVP of the Sugar Bowl (22 of 40, 270 yards, 3 TDs).
As Miami’s quarterback, Dorsey was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in both 2001 and 2002, claiming the Maxwell Award as college football’s national player of the year in 2001. He was a three-time first-team All-BIG EAST selection and three-time Academic All-BIG EAST honoree.
Dorsey played six NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns from 2003-08, making 13 starts and completing 214 of 408 passes for 2,082 yards and eight touchdowns, and one year with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts in 2010. With both the Browns and Argonauts, he gained valuable experience working on game plans with the offensive coaching staffs.
His first coaching experience came in the Florida high school ranks, as he served on offensive staffs at Lakewood Ranch, IMG Academy and Riverview from 2009-11. He was a pro scout for the Carolina Panthers from 2011-12.
Dorsey earned bachelor’s degrees from the University of Miami in both marketing and business management. He and his wife, Jordan, have two daughters, Logan and Tyler.
Drinkwitz previously announced that he is retaining offensive coaches Shawn Clark and Justin Watts, as well as defensive coach D.J. Smith.