Ronshad Shabazz is a Raleigh, North Carolina native with black and gold blood as an Appalachian State graduate. In 2019, Shabazz graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and numerous App State basketball records. As one of the best players to have played there, Shabazz had the opportunity to pursue a professional career. Initially landing him on an NBA development roster he took his talents to Russia and eventually Finland.
While in these places he decided to pursue entrepreneur studies resulting in a love for real estate. Most days leading up to the career change time was spent researching investment strategies and systems to ensure success. Becoming a REALTOR has always been a thought but starting the New Year it felt like the best time to search for an opportunity with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Foothills. The qualities that made Shabazz successful as an athlete will be the same qualities applied to real estate on a day to day basis; perseverance, consistency, dedication, and reliability, to just name a few.
Dexter Coakley served as the keynote speaker Friday at the 2023 Legends Gala, where he was one of eight individuals recognized as a legend. Addressing the large crowd, he broke down his keys to success as:
S — Self-discipline
U — Unwavering commitment
C — Continuously learning
C — Clarity of purpose
E — Endurance and perseverance
S — Strong work ethic
S — Surrounding yourself with positive people
“App State, this is family,” said Coakley, whose son, Zahn, is a freshman newcomer on App State’s football team. “This place nurtured me. This place has molded me. This place has allowed me an opportunity to go be successful in life, to get drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, to play 10 years in the NFL, to have a successful post-NFL career. It all came from Appalachian State. It came because I gave my all to Appalachian State. That success didn’t come easy, and that success didn’t come by myself. I’ve never claimed, you’ve never heard and you’ll never hear that I did it by myself. It was a family, and this is family.”
“I am who I am because of Appalachian State.”
In addition to Coakley, the other legends honored Friday were Jane Albright (Basketball), Donna Breitenstein (Tennis), Jane Cline Jakubik (Soccer), Zachary Hollis (Track & Field/Cross Country), Ronshad Shabazz (Basketball), Danielle Thorpe (Track & Field) and Austin Trotman (Wrestling).
Charley Belcher emceed the annual event, and Director of Athletics Doug Gillin welcomed the crowd gathered in the Grandview Ballroom of the North End Zone facility. A surprise fireworks show lighting up the sky beyond the south end zone of Kidd Brewer Stadium provided entertainment following a live auction that included contributions that will increase scholarship support for App State student-athletes.
One theme for the night was a dress code that invited guests to wear their favorite App State-themed sneakers to go with their cocktail attire.
“It really is a family here,” Gillin said. “Everything great in life starts with relationships. You build your relationships in recruiting. You build your relationships with events like this.
“You see, as people come in, everybody’s got a big smile on their face. It’s just a really special event.”