Appalachian State football

BOONE — App State head football coach Shawn Clark has added another key piece to his first coaching staff, hiring Cortney Braswell as an assistant coach on the defensive side of the ball.

The hiring of Braswell comes on the heels of hiring assistant Mark DeBastiani Jan. 17. DeBastiani will be an assistant coach with the defense.

Braswell, a former high school head coach in Georgia and Tennessee, comes to Boone after serving as a defensive quality control coach at Louisville for the 2019 season.

“We’re excited to welcome Cortney and his son Cayden to the App family,” Clark said. “Cortney worked his way up the high school ranks and is more than prepared to be a college coach. He has great energy and will bring his relentless work ethic to the football field and our recruiting efforts.”

DeBastiani coached the defensive tackles at App State from 1995-96, when Clark was an All-American offensive lineman. In 1995, App State went undefeated in the regular season, won the Southern Conference championship and advanced to the FCS quarterfinals.

“I’m coming home,” DeBastiani said in a statement. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to come back to such a special place with an unbelievable tradition and culture. This is where I started my coaching career under Jerry Moore, side by side with Dale Jones and with Shawn Clark when he played. I’ve always come back to visit Boone in the offseason, and I consider it home. I’m excited to get started.”

During his one season at Louisville working for former App State head coach Scott Satterfield, Braswell helped the Cardinals to one of the biggest turnarounds in college football with an 8-5 record and a win over Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me to be at the best place in the country to coach,” Braswell said in a statement. “Things like this just don’t happen for kids from rural northwest Georgia. I have so much respect for the championship culture at App State and fond memories of bringing my high school teams here for training camp and talking football with guys like Dale Jones, Nate Woody and Bryan Brown.”

As the head coach at Ridgeland High School in his hometown of Rossville, Ga., in 2018, Braswell led the Panthers to an 8-4 overall record, a Region 6-AAAA runner-up finish and a 34-14 state playoff victory over Flowery Branch before a second-round loss at Cartersville, the eventual state runner-up. Ridgeland also scored a big regular season road win at Sandy Creek.

DeBastiani coached linebackers at Central Michigan last season, helping the Chippewas to the second-biggest turnaround in college football with a seven-win improvement from the previous year. CMU finished 8-6 after earning berths to the MAC championship game and the New Mexico Bowl.

CMU’s rushing defense ranked top 25 in the country, and the Chippewas led the MAC and were eighth-best in the nation with 7.9 tackles for loss per outing. DeBastiani coached linebacker Troy Brown to first-team All-MAC honors and Michael Oliver to second-team accolades, with Brown topping all MAC players with 18 tackles for loss.

In 2018, DeBastiani served as the defensive coordinator/linebackers coach at Alabama A&M, leading a unit that ranked second in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in points allowed and third in total yardage, continuing a long-running trend of solid defense wherever he has coached.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Mark and his family to the App Family,” Clark said in a statement. “Mark was a part of our undefeated regular season in 1995 and has had tremendous success as a defensive coach at every stop since. He will be a great leader for the young men in our program.”

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