BOONE — Appalachian State will get a taste of the big time in 2016 when Miami (Fla.) brings its football team to Kidd Brewer Stadium.
The schools finalized the paperwork to bring the Hurricanes into Kidd Brewer Stadium on Sept. 17, 2016. Appalachian State will play at Miami on Sept. 11, 2021.
Miami has won five national championships, having won in 1983, 1987, 1989, 1991 and 2001.
The Hurricanes are the second ACC team to agree to play at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Wake Forest will play in Boone in 2017.
“We wanted to attract good teams for our university, for our alums, for our students and for our ticket holders,” Appalachian State athletic director Doug Gillin said. “So, we started looking and calling around. You call around and see who needs a game. It’s an art, not a science. We called a lot of teams. If you can name a team, we probably called them. Some were interested in playing in Boone and some weren’t. Miami had an opening and it was just a great opportunity for us and it just worked out.”
Appalachian State was to play North Carolina Central on Sept. 17, but the teams agreed to move that game to a later date. Appalachian State is also helping N.C. Central find an opponent to play on Sept. 17, and won’t have to pay a fee for moving the game since the teams will eventually play each other in the future.
“I never thought that we’d get a team like Miami, with the history that they have, all the championships and the teams they’ve had,” Mountaineers head coach Scott Satterfield said. “The ‘U’ is coming to the Rock. It’s awesome. It’s exciting for our program. It’s going to be a cool deal.”
Gillin gave credit to assistant athletic director/sports information director Mike Flynn for making the necessary calls looking to bring a team from a power conference to Boone.
Gillin said when he first came to Appalachian State this spring, he sat down with Flynn and said, “What’s our philosophy? What do we want to be?”
“We really wanted to try to see if we could get the best possible teams to play here in Boone,” Gillin said.
“Mike Flynn, to his credit, he did all the work, moved all the pieces of the puzzle and I’m really excited about what this means for our fan base,” Gillin said.
Getting Miami to agree to play in Boone is just the first step of the planning that Appalachian State’s athletic department has to take. They have to determine the price of tickets for the game, what types of season ticket packages will be involved and if additional seating will be brought in.
Gillin said that Miami would be allotted 2,000 tickets.
There are also the behind-the-scenes plans, such as finding a hotel for Miami’s team, its fans and its athletic department personnel who will make the trip. Gillin said that is no small matter.
“Miami coming here is a big deal,” Gillin said. “When they called us, they asked, ‘Where do we stay? Where do we eat?’ They might stay in Hickory, they might stay in Banner Elk. And they’re going to bring however many thousands of fans. Miami travels pretty well. So, what we want to do is put on a show because this college football community is fairly small, so they’re going to know, ‘How were we treated? How were the restaurants? How were the hotels? How’s the travel in? How’s the travel out? How’s the game experience?’”
The game itself presents a unique challenge to the Mountaineers. Appalachian State opens the season at Tennessee on Sept. 3 and will receive a $1.1 million guarantee for the trip.
The Mountaineers host Old Dominion on Sept. 10, a team they beat 49-0 this season in Norfolk, Va., and then host the Hurricanes a week later.
On Sept. 24, App State plays at Akron, a team that is 6-5 in the MAC this season.
Neither Appalachian State nor Miami will receive a guarantee when they visit each other’s stadium.
Miami is 7-4 this season heading into its Nov. 27 game at Pittsburgh. The Hurricanes are in third place in the Coastal Division of the ACC standings behind North Carolina and Pittsburgh.
“It’s going to be a challenge to open the season against an SEC opponent in their place,” Satterfield said. “Then you come home and play and Old Dominion and then Miami. So, that’s a tough stretch to start off the season, but we’ll welcome the challenge and we look forward to playing those guys.”