|« Mealey carrying his weight and more at center for EWU||Nicholls State Says Goodbye to the Paddle »|
App. State's Moore, Wofford's Ayers deans of SoCon
Mike Ayers of Wofford and Jerry Moore of Appalachian State are the deans of Southern Conference football coaches.
“In other words,” Ayers said, “we’re the old guys.”
SoCon all-time coaching victories
202 — Jerry Moore, Appalachian State (1989-present)
171 — Wallace Wade, Alabama (1923-30); Duke (1931-41, 1946-50)
99 — Mike Ayers, Wofford (1997-present)
77 — D.C. Walker, Wake Forest (1937-50)
69 — Frank Howard, Clemson (1940-52)
69 — Dick Sheridan, Furman (1978-85)
68 — H.C. Byrd, Maryland (1921-34)
68 — Bobby Lamb, Furman (2002-10)
They’ve steadily become friends as well as rivals in the past two decades, beginning in the mid-1980s when Ayers coached in the league for East Tennessee State and especially since 1997 when Wofford joined the SoCon. They’ll talk on the phone and occasionally have dinner together.
But during the season, especially this week as third-ranked Appalachian State and sixth-ranked Wofford get ready for a showdown at 3 p.m. Saturday at Gibbs Stadium, it’s a little different.
Appalachian State (3-1, 1-0 SoCon) at Wofford (2-1, 1-0)
3 p.m., Gibbs Stadium, S.C. ETV, ESPN3, 1400 AM, 97.1 FM
Rankings: Wofford No. 8 by The Sports Network, No. 6 (tied) by FCS coaches. Appalachian State No. 3 in both polls.
“We’ll talk briefly before the game and afterward. That’s about it,” Ayers said. “I think we both understand we have jobs to do. We both understand that we are trying to do the best we can do to beat the other guy. They’ll come down here to try to give us a bad day. We’ll try to give them one. … As things roll along as we get closer to the end of the season, we might have more conversations.”
Ayers has been Southern Conference coach of the year five times since 1999 and was the Eddie Robinson national coach of the year in 2003. Moore, who began at Appalachian State in 1989, has won SoCon honors eight times (five since 1999) and won the Robinson award in 2006. He led the Mountaineers to three straight FCS national championships (2004, 2005, 2006).
“He’s a great guy and a great ball coach,” Ayers said. “He’s done a fantastic job with that program. They’re a national contender and they’ve been that way for more than a decade. I think his record speaks for itself.”
Moore is by far the all-time winningest coach in the Southern Conference with 202 victories, 31 ahead of Wallace Wade (Alabama and Duke from 1923-50). Ayers is third on that list and his next win with the Terriers will be No. 100.
“I think they are probably one of the best if not the best-coached football team in our conference,” Moore said. “Their kids always play hard.”
Moore ranks second among active FCS coaches in total victories, behind Bob Ford of Albany, with 247. Ayers is 10th on that list with 167. Moore is 11-3 against Wofford since Ayers arrived, 14-3 against him overall. Wofford won back-to-back games in 2002 and 2003, and also in 2007.
By Todd Shanesy, GoUpstate