Two days before Appalachian State finishes one era by playing Middle Tennessee State in the New Orleans Bowl, the Mountaineers announced the start of a new one Thursday with the hiring of Eliah Drinkwitz as its next coach.
The 35-year-old Oklahoma native has spent the past three seasons as the offensive coordinator at NC State, where his units have set numerous school records behind the efforts of quarterback Ryan Finley and fellow future NFL draft pick Kelvin Harmon.
Drinkwitz replaces former coach Scott Satterfield, who left for Louisville after leading App State to its fourth bowl game in as many seasons as an FBS program. He signed a five-year contract that runs through the 2023 season and will be formally introduced in Boone on Monday.
In the meantime, Satterfield’s defensive line coach Mark Ivey will coach the team in Saturday’s game.
“The App State football program is in great position to continue its championship ways,” Mountaineers athletic director Doug Gillin said in a statement announcing the hire. “Eliah is committed to excellence academically, competitively, socially and to the well-being of our student-athletes.
“There was significant interest in our process throughout a national search. Eliah has great character and a clear vision for the future of Mountaineer football. I’m excited about the future of our football program.”
Drinkwitz, who has experience in the Sun Belt Conference as co-offensive coordinator at Arkansas State in 2012-13 before moving to Boise State and then NC State, inherits an offense that led the league in both points and yards per game on its way to a third straight Sun Belt championship.
Most of the key players in that offense, including quarterback Zac Thomas and leading rusher Darrynton Evans, are scheduled to return next season.
“My family and I are excited to embrace and build upon the proud tradition of Appalachian State Football,” Drinkwitz said. “This is a special time for App Nation, and we will work tirelessly to uphold the championship tradition.”
Drinkwitz’s departure is the second major loss for NC State coach Dave Doeren, who must also replace his offensive line coach after Dwayne Ledford left to become the co-offensive coordinator for Satterfield in Louisville.