Appalachian State University, 1993-96
2011 Southern Conference Hall of Fame Inductee
Dexter Coakley remains the most celebrated defensive player in the long history of Appalachian State football. He owns multiple ASU records and was a two-time recipient of the Buck Buchanan Award, presented annually to the top defensive player in what is now the Football Championship Subdivision.
Following a stellar high school career in the "Low Country" of South Carolina, Coakley made an immediate impact as a linebacker at App State, earning SoCon Freshman of the Year honors in 1993. He was named the SoCon's Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, junior and senior. He helped lead the Mountaineers to a pair of NCAA playoff appearances.
Drafted in the third round of the 1997 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys, Coakley became a starter as a rookie and went on to earn three Pro Bowl invitations. After eight seasons in Dallas, he completed his professional career with the St. Louis Rams. He played in 155 games during his NFL career.
His name still stands among the Mountaineers' all-time leaders in all tackling categories, twice registering at least 20 tackles in back-to-back games. In April of 2005, Coakley's No. 32 jersey was retired during a ceremony at ASU.