Appalachian State extends Kerns through 2025-26

On the heels of App State’s first NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament appearance in 21 years, head coach Dustin Kerns has signed a contract extension that runs through the 2025-26 season, Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Friday. The extension was approved by Chancellor Sheri Everts and the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees. 

In his second year at the helm, Kerns led the Mountaineers to their first Sun Belt Tournament Championship with four wins in four days in Pensacola, Florida. The team has posted two consecutive winning records of 18-15 and 17-12 after finishing below .500 each of the previous eight seasons prior to Kerns’ arrival.

“I would like to thank our players, coaches and support staff for all of their hard work and dedication that continues to elevate our program,” Kerns said. “Special thanks to Chancellor Sheri Everts, the Board of Trustees and Doug Gillin for their leadership, vision and commitment to App State Basketball. I would also like to thank our great fans for their incredible support and passion. Our family is humbled and thankful for the Boone community, and we are excited about the future at App State.”

App State has been one of the nation’s most improved programs over the last two years. The team’s 35 wins are tied for the most by a Mountaineer coach in his first two seasons since 1942.

“We continue to be excited about our men’s basketball program under the direction of Dustin and his staff,” Gillin said. “The program’s time in the national spotlight over the last few weeks has been tremendous for App State. Dustin, his staff and his student-athletes continue to pursue excellence both academically and competitively. The future is bright for the Mountaineers.”

App State has turned around its basketball fortunes with dramatically improved defensive play and efficient execution on offense under Kerns, who also led a turnaround in his two years as the head coach at Presbyterian before arriving in Boone. Defensively, the Mountaineers held opponents to the lowest scoring average in a season since 1980-81 by allowing just 64.1 points per game. This year’s squad achieved the largest scoring differential (+6.2 per outing) since the 2006-07 team that went 25-8 and earned an NIT berth.

Notable program achievements under Dustin Kerns:

  • First Sun Belt Tournament Championship
  • First NCAA Tournament appearance since 2000
  • 5-1 record in Sun Belt Tournament games
  • 23 total wins over Sun Belt teams
  • Most true road wins in a coach’s first two seasons (11) since 1940-41 and 1941-42
  • Lowest opponent scoring average (64.1 ppg in 2020-21) since 1980-81
  • Back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2009-10 and 2010-11
  • Back-to-back nonconference winning records for the first time since 1998-99 and 1999-2000
  • Most wins by a first-year head coach (18) since 1942
  • Ranked in the Mid-Major Top 25 poll for the first time since 2010
  • Largest average home attendance (2019-20) since 2011-12
  • Three all-conference selections (Justin Forrest, Adrian Delph and Michael Almonacy in 2020-21) for the first time since 1983-84
  • First All-Sun Belt first-team selection (Justin Forrest in 2019-20) in school history
  • First Sun Belt Tournament Most Outstanding Player (Michael Almonacy in 2021) in school history
  • First Lou Henson Award National Player of the Week (Justin Forrest) in school history
  • Ranked 10th nationally in 2019-20 community service hours by Helper Helper
  • Highest semester team GPA (3.42 in fall 2020) in school history

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