New coach promises an aggressive Wolfpack
RALEIGH - Former Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren was announced as N.C. State’s head football coach on Sunday, less than a week after the dismissal of Tom O’Brien.
N.C. State Athletics Director Debbie Yow said Doeren was a player’s coach, a man of integrity and an overachiever.
“In particular, his energy and passion for being at N.C. State caught my attention and served as a springboard for our conversation about opportunities to pursue excellence here,” Yow said. “He was our first choice among all our candidates.”
Doeren, 41, has two years of head coaching experience. He guided Northern Illinois to a 23-4 record over his two seasons at the helm. The Huskies went 11-1 this year and will play in the Orange Bowl against Florida State but Doeren will not be coaching that game. Northern Illinois is the first non-BCS conference team to earn a BCS bowl berth without being undefeated.
Hours after beating Kent State in the MAC Championship in double overtime, he heard from Yow.
Doeren said he has enjoyed vacations to the state of North Carolina, particularly fishing, and he said it would take a special kind of combination of geography and opportunity to make him leave Northern Illinois. N.C. State was that opportunity.
Northern Illinois was No. 15 nationally in scoring defense this year, despite playing in a conference packed with teams that can score. His offense, led by one of the nation’s best quarterbacks, Jordan Lynch, was ninth in scoring offense.
“The brand of football that you are going to see is a very aggressive style of football. (N.C. State) will be coached aggressively, they will be fundamentally sound, our schemes will be aggressive, our coaches will coach to win, we will prepare to win, and our guys will understand the routine that it takes to do that,” Doeren said.
Doeren has assistant coaching experience at Kansas and Wisconsin, and despite his youth, he has worked his way patiently up the ladder to get into the position he’s in now. At Wisconsin, he was the defensive coordinator from 2008-10. In 2010, Wisconsin was No. 20 in total defense and No. 25 in scoring defense.
“I’m a worker. I don’t think you win without work,” Doeren said. “There are no shortcuts. I believe shortcuts are turnovers, and turnovers are losses. If we want to be the champions in this conference and we want to be a consistent top-25 program, we are going to have to be tireless workers. My team will show that demeanor when they play.”
Doeren emphasized getting top-level talent to stay in state and “building a wall” around the state to keep it here. He said he would try to start recruiting top-level high school talent as freshmen and sophomores. Most of North Carolina’s top prep talent has headed to the Southeastern Conference or other marquee national programs like Notre Dame.
He said he is the ultimate competitor, and he sees recruiting as a competition, too.
“We will recruit the right way. We will recruit extremely hard. We will turn over every stone, and those stones will start in-state, and we will fight for every kid that we feel belongs here,” Doeren said. “Recruiting is competition and it’s relationships, and I love both of those things. I look forward to selling the product we have here.”
He was an academic All-America football player at Drake, and he said that he believes football players can be both good students and good athletes. Yow has said on more than one occasion that this commitment to academics is important to her, as well.
“I believe in the student-athlete. I think you can have both,” Doeren said. “I believe in the balance that a student-athlete has to learn to have in their life: the athletic, the academic and the social parts of their life I will be very involved in. It is my goal that when they leave here in the 4-5 years that I get to coach them that they will be successful in all three and they will be better in all three.”
N.C. State will face Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 31. Doeren’s early hire gives him a chance to get a jump on recruiting and keeping N.C. State’s existing signees in the next class but he will not coach the Wolfpack in the bowl game. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible was named interim head coach by Debbie Yow after O’Brien’s dismissal and he will coach the Wolfpack against Vanderbilt.