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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Mountaineer Experience

Posted November 12, 2007 11:38 a.m. EST
Updated November 13, 2007 4:32 p.m. EST

What a weekend! I’m back from Boone and savoring a major Mountaineer Experience. My family tailgated with Appalachian State University Chancellor Kenneth Peacock and his charming wife Rosanne. Then we enjoyed watching the Mountaineer football team record a convincing win on the gridiron at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

I don’t think I have ever seen a team score 79 points like Appalachian did Saturday against Western Carolina. And the Mountaineers weren’t trying to run up the score. Their team is just an unrelenting scoring machine no matter what string is playing. Is a third straight national championship on the horizon? Well, it certainly is a possibility if the Mountaineers can keep finding the end zone like they did Saturday.

While on the sidelines I got a hearty greeting from Appalachian State University Athletic Director Charlie Cobb. Charlie used to play football and work at NC State and is a close friend of WRAL’s Jeff Gravley. Charlie played under Dick Sheridan at NCSU and was an excellent student. I also had a nice chat about politics with State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Fred Smith who was in town as part of his 100 County Barbecue Tour.

Chancellor Peacock, a Rocky Mount native and childhood friend of WRAL’s Tom Suiter, is incredibly popular in Boone. While watching the action from the sidelines you could hear a chorus of students shouting “Chancellor Peacock, we love you!” Dr. Peacock spends much of the game in the stands with students cheering on the football team. It is so refreshing to see the biggest man on campus connecting on such a personal level with students. Earlier over tailgate chicken Dr. Peacock quizzed my son Will on how his freshman classes were going and how first year teaching has been for my daughter Lauren who graduated from ASU in May. Kenneth Peacock has an amazing ability to remember names, faces, hopes and dreams.

There’s nothing quite like football in Boone on a chilly autumn afternoon and evening. You should try it some time.