Ethan's welcome letter

It's done. 

I know I've said that a few times now regarding Appalachian State's football assistant coaches, but it really seems cemented now. 

On Friday, Coach Eliah Drinkwitz filled the final two vacancies of his coaching staff. For the third time, he has a full 10. And it appears it will stay that way. 

Drinkwitz will soon make each guys' responsibilities public, and that move will shift the focus to spring practices that will start later this month. 

There's a bigger question now, and it's not about the on-field play. How will this staff fit together?

It will benefit from the retention of four coaches who have all played parts in bowl and conference championships — Shawn Clark, Justin Watts, D.J. Smith and Greg Gasparato. But how does this puzzle come together now?

The staff is already working together. Drinkwitz and the other outside hires — Erik Link, Ted Roof, Pat Washington, Charlie Harbison, Garrett Riley and Anwar Stewart — have already started meshing and working together.

There's no doubt that Drinkwitz feels that these people can coexist. But there's always some give and take while coworkers learn how to interact with one another. So far, I've met both Link and Roof. Us media members will get chances to meet the others soon. But both of those guys made strong first impressions with me. Especially Roof, who seems like a great guy to get a coffee with. 

For some of these hires, the ones without the clear, direct lines to Drinkwitz or a fellow staff member, there is the need to establish the initial personal connection as well. 

This is an important time for the program. And as players hit the field in the next couple of weeks, there's finally a chance to start getting real answers about how things will look. The last few months have all been positive: the announcement of Drinkwitz's hiring, the additions of coaches with Power Five experience, and signing day. 

Things will start to get normal from here. A little more like real life with ups and downs, which is more my speed. This team and this staff will start transferring its projected identity. 

In other App State news, Drinkwitz announced he was adding former App State football player and Shelby High School coach Lance Ware as a senior assistant. I'll be talking with him soon (something this week) about his new role and his impending return to Boone. 

Take care and thanks for reading,


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