Western Carolina University introduced former Appalachian State assistant Mark Speir as its new head football coach on Thursday.

Speir coached previously at Western Carolina from 1991-96 under former Catamounts head coach Steve Hodgin. He becomes the 13th head coach in program history.

"When I stood at my introductory press conference last week," new WCU athletic director Randy Eaton said, "I told the Catamount nation that I was looking for four main attributes of our next head football coach: a love for the student- athlete and an unwavering commitment to their success, both on and off the field; a track record of success at the FCS level; pre-existing relationships with local and regional high school coaches; and someone who is a 'fit' in the athletics department, on campus and in the community. I have found all four in Mark Speir."

Speir has spent the last nine seasons within the Southern Conference at Appalachian State, most recently as the inside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator. He was a part of the Mountaineers' three straight FCS championship squads from 2005-07 and was named the 2009 NCAA Division I FCS Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association.

Speir spent time coaching running backs, outside linebackers and the defensive line at Western Carolina, and was the recruiting coordinator in his final two seasons. He earned his master's from WCU in 1994.

He broke into coaching as a student assistant at Clemson from 1986-89 before he graduated in 1990. He also coached at Presbyterian (1997-99) and Elon (2000-02).

The Catamounts were 1-10 overall and 0-8 in the SoCon this season. Dennis Wagner resigned on Nov. 14 after he posted a 8-36 record in four-plus seasons and Mark Rhea lost the season finale as interim coach.