Appalachian State chancellor cherishes attention from Michigan upset Print
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Monday, 03 September 2007 08:01
 BOONE, N.C. (AP) -Every Labor Day tourists head to this Blue Ridge Mountains town named after Daniel Boone to take in breathtaking views, eat Southern cuisine, and buy arts and crafts.
But as the long weekend wrapped up Monday, satellite trucks whizzed down the main street in town and reporters from ESPN and major newspapers combed through the Appalachian State campus, documenting the Mountaineers' stunning 34-32 win over No. 5 Michigan on Saturday.
Coach Jerry Moore has done dozens of national television and radio interviews. The New York Times put a story about the upset on the front page of the news section Monday. Sports Illustrated is planning a piece on the team this week.
And the school's chancellor is soaking it all in.
``Life is different at Appalachian,'' Kenneth Peacock said. ``People are going to want to come and see the team that took out Michigan. I'd want to go and see them, too. Life is going to be different on our campus for a while. It's going to be exciting.''
Though Appalachian State has won consecutive titles in the Football Championship Subdivision - formerly called Division I-AA - the team garnered little attention outside the immediate area. There would be only a dozen or so reporters for regular-season games against Southern Conference foes such as Wofford and Furman.
But pulling off perhaps the biggest upset in college football history has put Boone, N.C., on the college football map.
``The visibility surpasses all the visibility we've received from the first two championships,'' Peacock said. ``You go on your computer and we're there. I don't have a budget to buy the publicity we've received.''
Peacock said they had more than 13,000 applications - a 20 percent increase - last year for a freshman class that numbers less than 3,000. Peacock attributes the jump in part due to the consecutive national championships.
Peacock isn't sure what beating the Big Ten's Wolverines will do.
``Athletics is the front porch of your institution,'' Peacock said. ``Well, people have liked the front porch. They've stopped and looked.''
Peacock, who was in Ann Arbor for the game, returned to his on-campus home Saturday night and found a goalpost sitting in his front yard, deposited there by students who tore it down about a half-mile away at the football stadium.
Peacock, known for dancing on the sidelines during home football games, has been the school's top cheerleader.
``We don't have a better fan than the chancellor. He's a different kind of guy,'' Moore said. ``He gets out with them. They love him on the sideline. He takes off the coat and tie a little bit.
``There was no better place for that goalpost to be.''
After Peacock inspected the trophy in his yard Saturday night, he couldn't turn off the TV.
``Lou Holtz is talking about Appalachian. You can't go to bed when that's going on,'' Peacock said. ``I mean, the legendary Lou Holtz is saying good things about Appalachian - and he's pronouncing it the right way!''
The pronunciation is a big deal here. It's App-ah-LATCH-in. It's been pronounced App-ah-LAYTCH-in in other parts of the country for years.
Beating Michigan changed that, too.
Moore, in his 19th season, likes to schedule at least one major school per season. That may pose bad news for Louisiana State, Florida, Georgia and Virginia Tech - all scheduled to play the Mountaineers in future years.
``I don't think any of them have called and canceled either,'' Moore said with a grin.
Moore was emphatic that he was going to allow his players to enjoy the win until Tuesday, when they begin preparing for Saturday's home opener against Division II Lenoir-Rhyne.
Some players have been overwhelmed with the attention. Players' cell phone voice mailboxes have filled up. One player received more than 100 text messages after the game Saturday night.
Kicker Julian Rauch had more than 20 new friend requests - from Ohio State fans - on his MySpace page.
And Peacock told his pastor Sunday morning that if his time had come late Saturday afternoon, he would have been ready.
``I had one foot in glory land anyway,'' Peacock said. ``It would have been an easy thing to do.''
 

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