A lot of ACC football fans may not have heard of Dave Doeren. But N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow knows all about him, so Doeren is on his way to Raleigh.
Yow hired Doeren on Saturday as the Wolfpacks new football coach, grabbing a rising star who just led Northern Illinois to its second consecutive Mid-American Conference title. Doeren signed a five-year deal worth $1.8 million annually. N.C. State has a press conference scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday to introduce the new coach, who turns 41 on Monday and will be the youngest coach in the ACC.
I am honored and excited to join the Wolfpack, Doeren said in a statement released by N.C. State. N.C. State has world-class facilities and fans that are second to none. My family and I cant wait to get to Raleigh and become Wolfpackers.
Doeren led the Huskies to a school-record 12 wins this season and a 23-4 record in two years.
Yow wasted little time in landing Doeren. Yow dismissed former coach Tom OBrien last Sunday and interviewed Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes and Clemson assistant Chad Morris earlier in the week. Yow flew to DeKalb, Ill., on Saturday to close the deal with Doeren.
Coach Dave Doeren is a highly motivated overachiever who shares our goals to pursue aggressively a high level of achievement in the classroom and on the field of competition, Yow said in a statement.
While Doerens new deal is a $1.4 million raise for him, its less than N.C. State was paying OBrien, who made just under $2 million a year.
Doerens contract with NIU was worth $420,000 annually at NIU and has a $750,000 buyout. N.C. State owes OBrien $1.2 million over the next four years.
Rob Ash, who coached Doeren at Drake in the early 1990s, said fans will come to know Doeren quickly.
Some guys have it and Dave does, Ash said. Hes a relentless competitor.
A strong recruiter
Yow wanted a strong recruiter to replace OBrien 40-35 in six seasons and an aggressive coach who would have the Wolfpack in annual contention for a spot in the top 25 and in the ACC race.
The Huskies, ranked No. 19 in the AP poll, beat Kent State 44-37 in double-overtime Friday night in Detroit for their second straight MAC title, improving to 12-1.
Theres an outside chance the Huskies, No. 21 in the Bowl Championship Standings this week, can move up and qualify for a spot in the Orange Bowl. Either way, Doeren has indicated he will not coach the team in its bowl game.
Joe Novak, who turned the NIU program into a winner in the 1990s, said Yow found a keeper in Doeren.
I think hes a great football coach, said Novak, who retired in 2007 and moved to Southport. I was hoping hed stay at Northern for another year or two, but I knew hed have other opportunities.
Doeren cut his teeth as a recruiter, first at Drake on Ashs staff, then at Southern California and the University of Montana before returning to his native state of Kansas.
Doeren, whos from the Kansas City suburb of Shawnee Mission, worked for four years at Kansas, starting in 2002. He was the linebackers coach and one of the top recruiters for coach Mark Mangino.
Hes a very good recruiter, Mangino said. Hes bright, energetic and a tireless worker. I really think everyone in Raleigh is going to like Dave.
Doeren left Manginos staff for Wisconsin in 2006 and worked five seasons for Bret Bielema. Doeren served as the recruiting coordinator and defensive coordinator at both major Division I stops before getting the top NIU job in December 2010.
Doeren played tight end at Drake, and his coaching background is with defense, but the Huskies have one of the most productive offenses in the country.
NIU runs a version of the spread offense under Doeren and ranks 12th in the country in scoring (40.5 points per game) and 16th in total offense (482.5 yards per game).
When NIU athletic director Jeff Compher hired Doeren two years ago, he had an inkling he would be going through another coaching search soon.
What Dave has done here in two seasons has been unprecedented, Compher said in a statement. His record on the field speaks for itself, and the family atmosphere and culture of hard work he has fostered have led directly to our success. Under Dave and his staff, Northern Illinois has gone from being a great team to being a great program.
With Saturdays decision, N.C. State is hoping for the same result.
Watch a video of Coach Doeren miked-up on the sidelines during NIU's spring football game: