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BOONE — Appalachian State University football alum and former NFL head coach Steve Wilks and his wife are making an impact in support of App State Athletics by giving a gift to the Keep Climbing initiative that includes establishing the Steve and Marcia Wilks Post-Graduate Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship.

The yearly scholarship will be designated to one Mountaineer student-athlete from an underrepresented population who is pursuing a graduate degree at Appalachian State University, according to App State Athletics. Each year’s recipient will also be provided an internship within the athletics department that will focus on developing transferable skills, networking, mentorship and professional development. The internship also includes assisting with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Mountaineers RISE student-athlete development program.

Wilks is a Charlotte native who played defensive back at App State from 1987-91 and was the defensive backs coach at his alma mater in 2001. He graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in communications.

Wilks has 14 years of NFL coaching experience, helping lead the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl as the team’s assistant head coach and defensive backs coach during the 2015 season. Wilks was the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Panthers during his sixth and final season with the franchise before spending one year as the Arizona Cardinals’ head coach in 2018. He served as the Cleveland Browns’ defensive coordinator in 2019.

Wilks is the latest App State Athletics alum to give back to the university through an impactful financial gift. The generosity of those in the Yosef Club provides 400-plus student-athletes with opportunities, experiences and a world-class education.

To contribute to the Yosef Club endowment that funds student-athlete scholarships, call (828) 262-3108 or email

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