Gene Appel was a standout football player at Sharon High School who went on to a brilliant athletic career at Columbia University. He played three years of football at Sharon in 1952-54, and lettered the latter two years. But it was at Columbia where he really shined.

At Columbia, Gene competed in football and wrestling for four years. In football, he played offensive guard and linebacker on the freshman team and then three years at both positions on the varsity squad. He was named to the All-East team and one of the highlights was returning an interception 65 yards for a TD in a 13-0 win over Yale.

As a freshman wrestler, he posted a 6-1-1- record. He then lettered three straight years on the varsity team. He received the Gus Peterson Award in 1957-58 as the outstanding wrestler. He was named the school's Outstanding Sportsman Award winner in 1958-59 and was voted by the Class of 1959 as Outstanding Athlete. He played rugby with the New York Athletic Club in 1959.Gene also received special recognition in 1956 winning a national award, Van Raalte Cup, with Zeta Tau Fraternity, and was recognized with a U.S. Best Individual Athlete honor.

After being out of the sports world for several years, Gene became an assistant football coach at Wilsonville High School (Oregon) in 2000, coaching blocking and tackling and serving as chief scout. The team went to the 2003 state championship and in 2004, the team won the 3A championship.

He also has coached at Horizon Christian High School for the past few years and the team posted an undefeated season.