Where ever Mike Apple goes success is sure to soon follow. Though he never strayed far from his Moore County home Apple has found success on a national level. His success at Sandhills has been both instant and lasting. In just five seasons Apple's teams have earned three Region X titles, two District VII championships as well as the 2012 NJCAA DIII National Championship in Loch Sheldrake, NY. Player development remains Apple forte and the proof is in the pudding. Seventeen players have continued their careers at four year institutions with fifteen of those earning scholarships to four year institutions.
The accolades poured in for Apple and his team alike with the 2012 National Championship. He was honored as the NABC Junior College coach of the year (all divisions), Gary Cole Coach of the Tournament and District VII Coach of the Year. Markell Lotharp earned All-American and NJCAA All Star Game laurels. As NJCAA All Star Game coach Apple coached Markell in Las Vegas, NV versus the other best players in the NJCAA. Daquain Towns grabbed NJCAA Tournament MVP recognition. The Flyers were greeted with a trip through New York City (including the Empire State Building and Times Square) not to mention a hometown welcome with a parade through Southern Pines atop vintage convertibles. The Flyers signed posters and gave away hot dogs after the parade.
Apple and company followed up the national title with a repeat Region X title in 2013. With the return trip to the NJCAA National Tournament in 2015 Apple solidified his program's place on the national scence. He garned another District VII Coach of the Year honor on the way to an NJCAA sixth place finish. Apple is an impressive 121-42 (74%) at Sandhills and reached 100 wins at SCC in a short time (February 28, 2015). His overall coaching record stands at 334-211 (61%).
Mike Apple was announced in April of 2011 as the men's basketball coach at Sandhills Community College. Apple came to Sandhills from nearby Pinecrest High School fresh off back to back conference regular season and tournament titles. His eighth season at Pinecrest was his 26th overall coaching high school basketball. In head coaching stints at Western Harnett HS (1998-2003) and Pinecrest (2003-2011) he rebuilt struggling teams into successful programs with ten visits to the NCHSAA playoffs. Denton shares, "We are fortunate to have an experienced HS coach and accomplished educator lead our team. Our players benefit tremendously from his knowledge and level of committment. Sandhills has a top notch coach and person in our institution."
A Moore County native Apple attended Guilford College on a basketball scholarship after graduating from Union Pines High School. He returned home to teach and coach at Union Pines HS for 13 seasons. Western Harnett afforded Apple with the opportunity to become a head coach and he flourished as did his teams. After five seasons rebuilding at Western Harnett he took the Pinecrest HS job and started a similar building process. He is a five time Coach of the Year recipient as well as two time teacher of the year. A well rounded coach Apple's experience includes 19 years as a football coach and 18 years as a track & field mentor. He remains active in the NC Coaches Association of which he served on the Board of Directors from 2006-2010.
Apple is a member of the Union Pines Hall of Fame both as an individual (class of 2007) and as the member of the 1980-81 basketball team (class of 2011). He joined the inaugural 2013 class of the Sandhills Athletics Hall of Fame with his 2012 National Champion basketball teams.
Apple lives with his wife, Dawn, in nearby Lakeview. They have two adult sons Andrew and Will. Andrew and wife Nicole, both local optometrists, have a daugher, Maddie. Will is a law student at Mercer University in Macon, GA.