Tudor: Yow's hiring hunches are stunners but paying off

ctudor@newsobserver.comDecember 2, 2012 

Debbie Yow is beginning to work right field like Roberto Clemente.

Having surprised everyone on her trail by hiring Mark Gottfried as N.C. State’s basketball coach in April, 2011, the Wolfpack athletic director uncorked another stunner with Saturday’s announcement that Dave Doeren of Northern Illinois would move into Tom O’Brien’s football office.

Although Doeren has had breathtaking success in two seasons with the Huskies – 11-3 and 12-1, two MAC championships – he’s still such a relative coaching unknown that it’s impossible to predict how he’ll do with the Wolfpack.

A gregarious 40-year-old, Doeren obviously is a stark contrast to the reserved, stately O’Brien, a 64-year-old former Marine major. He will give the football a younger look and likely bring in some Mid-American Conference coaching tactics with which ACC coaches are unfamiliar.

It’s a certainty that Wolfpack fans will rally behind him even though most of those fans were expecting a new coach from almost anywhere except DeKalb, Ill.

But can Doeren put together a staff capable of recruiting the South? He’s Midwest to the bone, has an offensive coordinator (Mike Dunbar) who is about to turn 64 and a highly respected quarterback coach (Bob Cole) who might get promoted to the head chair.

And although Doeren won big and fast at Northern Illinois, most of the players on those teams were recruited by the staff of his predecessor Jerry Kill.

When Kill left for Minnesota after the 2010 Huskies went 10-3 and 8-0 in the Mid-American Conference, Doeren was hired from Wisconsin.

What we’re seeing from Yow is the work of a classic “hunch” player.

That trend surfaced late in her 16-year stint at Maryland. Yow’s decision to replace veteran coach Ralph Friedgen with little known assistant James Franklin was a shocker, just as was her Gottfried hire.

The early returns suggest that Yow’s hunches are good ones. Gottfried, who resigned suddenly at Alabama in the middle of the 2008-09 season, has been an instant hit with Wolfpack fans while emerging as one of the hottest recruiters in the nation.

Franklin left Maryland before getting a chance to coach the Terps but has worked a near miracle at Vanderbilt – the Duke of the SEC.

Horse race bettors have a saying you never “bet a bunch on a hunch.” But most of those folks lose more than they win. So far, Yow’s hunches are paying off.

Tudor: 919-829-8946

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service