In his ninth year at Appalachian State University, director of athletics Charlie Cobb has spearheaded perhaps the most successful and ambitious period in the University’s decorated athletics history.
Of Cobb’s many achievements in his nine years at Appalachian State, the most notable came in March when Appalachian accepted an invitation to join the NCAA Division I FBS Sun Belt Conference. For many of the University’s most ardent supporters, the announcement that Appalachian would join the Sun Belt on July 1, 2014 capped a years- and even decades-long quest for all 450-plus Mountaineer student-athletes to compete at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics.
However, the Sun Belt invitation is just the tip of the iceberg with regards to Cobb’s many accomplishments at Appalachian State. The achievements enjoyed by Appalachian athletics during Cobb’s tenure also include:
• Three NCAA Division I football national championships — marking the first time that any program has ever won three-consecutive NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS — formerly Division I-AA) titles and the first NCAA football championships ever won by a team from the state of North Carolina at any level.
• Shattering football attendance records at Kidd Brewer Stadium with crowds surpassing “The Rock’s” permanent seating capacity for each of Appalachian’s 46 regular-season home games since Cobb’s arrival in 2005.
• A 298-percent increase in football season-ticket sales.
• Eight-consecutive Commissioner’s Cup championships — recognizing the top overall men’s sports program in the Southern Conference.
• Four Germann Cup championships — recognizing the top overall women’s sports program in the SoCon.
• Sweeping the Commissioner’s and Germann Cups in the same academic year four times — a feat never achieved by any other SoCon school.
• Thirty-five percent of the athletics department’s students making the Academic Honor Roll (minimum GPA of 3.25).
• Student-athletes achieving a combined 3.0 grade point average for both semesters of the 2012-13 academic year.
• Seven of 20 varsity programs (football, men’s basketball, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, field hockey, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field) earning public recognition awards, based on ranking among the top 10 percent nationally in their respective sports in Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores.
• The Yosef Club, which provides scholarship and facility support for student-athletes, setting fundraising records each of the past eight years. Annual Yosef Club donations, which never topped $700,000 prior to Cobb’s arrival, surpassed the $3 million mark for the first time in 2012-13.
The most visible of Cobb’s many achievements at Appalachian State has been the addition of first-class facilities that give the Mountaineers the opportunity to be successful across the athletics spectrum for years to come.
A wave of facility enhancements totaling $50 million were completed in 2009, headlined by the 120,000-square-foot Appalachian Athletics Center. The seven-story complex, located behind Kidd Brewer Stadium’s west stands, includes new football offices and locker room, a strength and conditioning center, training facilities, academic study space and computer lab for all student-athletes, as well as revenue-generating premium seating in the form of 600 club-level seats and 18 luxury suites.
The facility enhancements also included other significant renovations to The Rock. A new ticket plaza, which serves as a grand entrance to the stadium, as well as ornamental fencing that replaced the chain-link barriers that used to surround the stadium and field were completed before the 2007 season, while a 4,400-seat upper deck on the stadium’s east side and substantial upgrades to the east and south concourses were completed prior to the ‘08 campaign.
In addition to the renovations at Kidd Brewer Stadium, the campaign also produced new homes for Mountaineer baseball (Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium), softball (Sywassink/Lloyd Family Stadium) and soccer (at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex), as well as the Apps’ first-ever indoor practice facility (Sofield Family Indoor Practice Facility) and renovations to Varsity Gym that have upgraded the facility to a premier practice and competition venue for Appalachian basketball, indoor track and field, volleyball and wrestling.
With the $50 million in facilities enhancements, all 20 of Appalachian’s intercollegiate sports teams now practice and compete in facilities that have either been built or renovated since the turn of the millenium.
While Cobb is quick to point out the “total team effort” put forth to achieve the many successes that have been enjoyed since he began his tenure as Appalachian State’s director of athletics on July 1, 2005, it is the experience, vision and work ethic of the 45-year-old Cobb that has steered the Mountaineers to new heights.
Cobb’s peers recognized him for his efforts when the National Collegiate Athletics Directors Association (NACDA) named him the NCAA Division I FCS Southeast Region Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year in 2011.
He also serves on numerous NCAA and Southern Conference committees, most notably the NCAA Division I Football committee that he currently chairs.
Prior to his arrival in Boone, Cobb was a member of the athletics department at North Carolina State University from 1998-2005. A four-year football letterwinner at NC State from 1987-90, Cobb served as the Wolfpack’s senior associate athletics director for external operations for the seven years prior to his arrival in Boone. In that role, he oversaw NC State’s marketing, ticket operations, media relations and student-athlete development operations, as well as serving on the department’s compact strategic planning initiative, gender equity and facilities committees.
During his tenure, NC State increased football season-ticket sales by 87 percent and men’s basketball season-ticket sales by 121 percent. The combined ticket revenues accounted for an annual increase of over 86 percent for Wolfpack athletics, generating more than $6 million for the department.
In addition, Cobb served as NC State’s administrator for baseball and women’s soccer, tournament manager for the 2004 NCAA men’s basketball first and second rounds at the RBC Center and the chair for the southeast region of the NCAA women’s soccer committee.
Prior to returning to his alma mater in ‘98, Cobb spent six years in Atlanta, Ga., where he held positions with the Atlanta Sports Council, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl and the Georgia Dome. As an assistant executive director for the Atlanta Sports Council and the Peach Bowl, he helped coordinate Atlanta’s bid for the 2002 NCAA men’s basketball Final Four and handled all game and event operations for the Peach Bowl.
As sales manager for the Georgia Dome from 1994-97, Cobb helped procure events such as the Southeastern Conference football championship, the SEC and Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball tournaments, NCAA men’s basketball championship events, Georgia High School Association football playoffs, major concerts and other college and amateur sporting events.
Cobb graduated with honors with a B.A. in business administration from NC State in 1990. A second-team all-ACC honoree at center as a senior, Cobb was an academic all-ACC selection and collected the prestigious Jim Tatum Award, presented to the ACC football senior with the highest grade point average, and the Bob Warren Memorial Award, given to the Wolfpack football player that displays the highest integrity and sportsmanship.
After receiving post-graduate scholarships from both the ACC and NFL Charities, Cobb earned a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University in 1992.
Cobb is married to the former Lindsay Brecher, who was an all-ACC goalkeeper for NCSU women’s soccer from 1988-90 and serves as an assistant coach for Appalachian’s women’s soccer program. The Cobbs have a 15-year-old son, Harrison, and a 12-year-old daughter, Branan.