Dec. 22, 2011
Jerry Moore, head football coach at Appalachian State University:
Speir worked for nine years under Moore at ASU
"Western Carolina is very lucky to get Mark (Speir). He is a perfect fit; he knows Western Carolina and knows it well. Mark knows the atmosphere at Western Carolina, which is excellent and always has been. I've always thought they are one of the toughest teams and one of the toughest places to play. Mark has been my recruiting coordinator and has developed a great rapport with high school coaches in North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Georgia. He has done a great job getting the right guys at Appalachian. WCU is very, very fortunate to get Mark Speir. He is a great coach, and a better man; he is the kind of guy that you would love your son to go play for. He and his family - Paige and his two boys - they are easy to get attached to and WCU will fall in love with them in a week's time."
Brad Hoover, former football student-athlete at WCU (1995-99) and WCU Hall of Fame member:
Speir recruited Brad Hoover to Western Carolina out of Ledford High School
"Mark Speir will bring back a winning attitude to Western Carolina University. He's been in a winning program the past nine years. Even though he's been a Catamount before and had some success, that experience of winning at the FCS level at Appalachian is a defining characteristic. He's a first-class person and a really good coach. He will bring a staff that will reflect that attitude and experience to bring Western Carolina back to the level it needs to be. I am real excited about the hire. I think it's a good choice on Western Carolina's part in getting a former Catamount who has experience winning at this level. He will do everything in his power to put WCU football back on the map."
Daryl Dickey, head football coach and director of athletics at the University of West Georgia:
Speir worked for Dickey from 1997-99 as an assistant football at Presbyterian College
"Mark is dedicated and a hard worker who is passionate about and loves all aspects of the game of football. He has worked long and hard to get this opportunity and will be a great fit for Western Carolina. He has intimate knowledge about the area and the school. Since Mark has been in the area for the majority of his coaching career, he knows what it will take to be successful at WCU."
Todd Harkins, former football student-athlete at Western Carolina (1989-92) and WCU Hall of Fame member:
Speir came to Western Carolina during Harkins' junior year in 1991
"We could not have chosen a better candidate. Mark has a relationship with every high school coach in North Carolina - and that is something that we've missed over the past couple of years. Mark's been in Cullowhee - he knows the people, the atmosphere and knows how to succeed there. Based on how my phone has rung over the past week, people will flock back to Western Carolina football. (Mark) is young, upbeat, an unbelievable recruiter and a motivator; I'm looking forward to next fall - especially when we play Appalachian State because there is no one that will be able to get a team more motivated to play than someone who has been there. We're all excited and we look for nothing but great things over the next years to come."
Stacy Searels, offensive line coach at the University of Texas:
Speir and Searels have known each other since the 1990s while coaching at mountain-rivals, WCU and ASU
"Mark and I met back in the 1990s when I was at Appalachian State and he was at Western Carolina. I remember he was a great recruiter and tough to recruit against. He did a tremendous job recruiting for Western Carolina during that time period. Since then, we've always kept in touch. When a job came open at Appalachian State (in 2003), I told Coach (Jerry) Moore to hire Mark Speir. I believe that Mark has had a big impact on Appalachian's football program. He is a tremendous guy and a tremendous coach. Mark has knowledge of the area (around WCU) and what it takes to win there. He knows the Southern Conference and has won at a high level in both the SoCon and FCS football. He has learned from Coach Moore, who also had a tremendous impact on my career.
Shawn Elliott, offensive line coach and run game coordinator at the University of South Carolina:
Speir worked with Elliott from 2003-2009 at Appalachian State
"In my five-year coaching relationship with Mark at Appalachian State, I found him to be an unbelievable coach. He is one of the best I've worked with and our relationship at Appalachian was golden. He has a great intelligence for football; he is a mentor of men and a stand-up guy. I am thrilled that he is getting this opportunity and he will do a great job. Mark will bring a new level of excitement, energy and passion to Western Carolina University. The energy level and great coaches he will surround himself with will make it a great time to be at Western Carolina. Mark is truly a great one who wants to be at WCU and wants WCU to succeed. He will rally the Western Carolina fan base."
Ken Browning, assistant coach and running backs position coach at the University of North Carolina:
Speir worked with Browning through a variety of football camps over the past 20 years
"I've known Mark Speir for 20-plus years at all levels of his coaching experience and he always does an outstanding job, many times in different coaching roles. In fact, his background on both sides of the football will be invaluable as a head coach. He fosters great player morale; he is a player's coach who responds well to players, but also sets high expectations. While I've not coached on a staff with him, I have had the chance to see him as a teacher in the camp setting. Many times in camp, those you are working with are not even your players. Mark was willing to lay it on the line even when they weren't his players just to teach them football. He is a good person who gets along with and understands people, and he has fit in great everywhere he has coached. He is a great asset to the university and the community."