Wolfpack hires Huxtable to be defensive coordinator

jgiglio@newsobserver.comDecember 15, 2012 

Dave Huxtable

Dave Huxtable replaced Dave Doeren at Wisconsin. Now he’ll join him at N.C. State. Doeren hired Huxtable on Friday to be the Wolfpack’s new defensive coordinator.

A veteran assistant, Huxtable adds ACC experience to Doeren’s staff. Huxtable, who has also worked as the defensive coordinator at North Carolina and Georgia Tech, agreed to a contract at N.C. State worth $450,000 annually that runs through the 2015 season.

Huxtable, 55, makes the jump to N.C. State after one season at Pittsburgh and one at Wisconsin. Huxtable became the Badgers’ linebackers coach in 2011, when Doeren left to become the head coach at Northern Illinois.

Huxtable and Doeren have not previously worked together.

“The more I talked with Dave, the more impressed I was with him,” Huxtable said Friday night. “He did a great job at Northern Illinois.”

N.C. State hired Doeren on Dec. 1, after he led Northern Illinois to a 12-1 record and a spot in the Orange Bowl. Doeren, whose background is on defense, has said the Wolfpack will run a base 4-3 defense, the same scheme Huxtable employed at Pitt this season.

The Panthers rank 16th in the country in total defense (325.8 yards per game) and 21st in scoring defense (19.6 points per game) this season.

Pitt (6-6) is set to play Ole Miss in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 5 but Huxtable said Friday he will not coach in the bowl game, instead he will begin working at N.C. State.

Huxtable is no stranger to the state of North Carolina. He worked for John Bunting at UNC for three years, from 2001 to ‘03, and replaced Jon Tenuta as the defensive coordinator in ’02. Tenuta has coached at N.C. State for the past three seasons.

UNC’s defense struggled under Huxtable, particularly in 2003. The Tar Heels ranked 116th, out of 117 teams, in total defense (505.2 yards per game) and 113th in scoring defense (38.2 points per game). Bunting demoted Huxtable after a season-ending loss to Duke in ’03 and eventually Huxtable left UNC for Central Florida.

“That was a long time ago,” Huxtable said. “I’m looking forward to wearing the red and white and being a part of the Wolfpack family.”

Huxtable rehabilitated his career at UCF with coach George O’Leary, who he also worked for at Georgia Tech in the 1990s. Huxtable spent seven seasons with O’Leary at UCF, including the last three as the defensive coordinator.

UCF won a school-record 11 games in 2010 and the Knights ranked eighth nationally in scoring defense (17.1 points per game) and 15th in total defense (315.4 yards per game).

Huxtable went to Wisconsin in 2011, and when Paul Chryst left Wisconsin to become the Panthers’ head coach, he followed Chryst to Pitt.

“Dave is an ACC veteran coach with a great track record of fundamentally sound, tough, hard-nosed defenses,” Doeren said in a statement released by the school. “He and I have similar defensive philosophies. We know a lot of the same people and they all say that he is tremendous as a coach, a person and a technician.”

Huxtable joins recruiting coordinator Ryan Nielsen on Doeren’s staff.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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