John "Appy" Appicello

Sports Director

I look at the world of sports as a microcosm of life itself. Most games, most seasons, most careers can be explained through life experiences we all have. Overcoming challenges, creating the proper matchups for success, riding momentum to victory — in lots of ways we are all coaches, and we are all players. My charge is to relate sports happenings to you in a way that nearly everyone can understand. When you hear me talk about doing the laundry, or the trials and tribulations of having an outdoor picnic, I’m just trying to bring what may seem complicated to some — to an activity you can relate to. We all can’t play pro football. But we all have to eat.

My father would let me stay up to watch the first half of Monday Night football when I was three. My mother swears I could name every starting player on three different NFL teams at that age. I credit my dad with making sports a real passion in my life. Sports ingrains value systems that become very important later on. What I enjoy most now is covering local sports — especially at the high school level. Growing up in coal country in Pennsylvania I can tell you entire towns revolve around what the local high school teams are doing. I appreciate and respect the impact we can have on young people. A little recognition never hurts. I think Southwest Virginia is much the same, just a little further south down the mountain chain.

I was a cross-country and track athlete at Syracuse University. I’m in my high school (Tamaqua, PA) Sports Hall of Fame for my cross-country, wrestling and track careers there. I understand what it means to compete at a high level. My broadcasting degree comes from the University of Florida. 

My daughter Nina is headed to William & Mary and my son Aidan is at Lord Botetourt. Whether they choose to pursue a career in athletics, my hope for them is they find something they're passionate about.