If you’re curious about the Catamounts of Western Carolina, here are some notes of interest:
–First-year head coach Mark Speir worked as an assistant coach at Appalachian State from 2003-11 and was there for the infamous win over Michigan in 2007. Six of his staff members are Appalachian graduates.
–The Catamounts’ football records go back to 1931, and the school finished second in the Division I-AA playoffs in 1983. I-AA is now FCS, which is where Western Carolina still resides.
–Western Carolina is 1-9, and Saturday is the end of the Catamounts’ season. They’ve allowed 40.0 points a game this year. Freshman quarterback Troy Mitchell has thrown for 832 yards and rushed for 427 and eight touchdowns.
–Since the start of the 2007 season, Western Carolina has won only 10 games. The Catamounts have lost 25 of their last 27, and the only wins have come over Mars Hill, which is a Division II school from North Carolina.
–Western Carolina played Alabama in 2007, losing 52-6. Since then, the Catamounts have played Georgia, Florida State, Vanderbilt, North Carolina State and Georgia Tech. The closest the Catamounts have come to winning in that stretch was a 45-16 loss to Georgia in 2007.
–Western Carolina and Alabama have one small connection: Benny Dees coached basketball at both schools, serving as a Crimson Tide assistant in the early 1980s under Wimp Sanderson and as Western Carolina’s head coach in 1993-95. He was 26-30 with the Catamounts.