RALEIGH — Dereck Whittenburg couldn't stay away from coaching or N.C. State basketball.
The leading scorer from the Wolfpack's 1983 national title team will get back to both in his new role as N.C. State's director of player development.
Whittenburg will join Mark Gottfried's staff as a senior assistant in a move announced by the school Monday.
"It's great being back home," Whittenburg said. "I can't tell you how excited I am."
Whittenburg has 26 years of experience as a college assistant and head coach before working most recently as an analyst for ESPN.
He was the creative force and executive producer of "Survive and Advance," the "30-for-30" film detailing the extraordinary postseason of the '83 title team. He spent about two years working on the film, which aired in March.
"Because I spent so much time in North Carolina, it brought me around the team and back to the school a lot," said Whittenburg, who has lived in New York the past 15 years. "I probably spent more time down here in the last two years than the previous 20 years."
As a senior, Whittenburg led the Wolfpack with 17.5 points per game. But it was his missed shot, in the waning seconds, which lives on in NCAA tournament history. Whittenburg's 30-foot shot was short of the basket, but Lorenzo Charles slammed home the miss to give the Wolfpack a dramatic 54-52 win over Houston.
Whittenburg replaces Larry Farmer on Gottfried's staff. Farmer left in June to be an assistant coach at Western Michigan.
Whittenburg's role for the Wolfpack will be as a mentor to the current players.
"He brings a wealth of not only experience, but of knowledge and love for N.C. State," Gottfried said in a statement released by the school.
"He has many strengths as a former head coach, including relating with players and their families. We look forward to having him be a mentor to our players, and having his experience on our staff."
Whittenburg began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at State in 1985 under Jim Valvano, the coach he helped win the national title. He returned to be an assistant for Valvano from 1988 to '91.
Whittenburg was a head coach for 10 seasons at Wagner College in New York and Fordham, the last in 2009. He led Wagner to the NCAA tournament in 2003 and the NIT in 2002.
Whittenburg followed N.C. State last season for his work as an analyst for ESPN and is familiar with the returning players. Whittenburg, who starred at DeMatha High School before playing for the Wolfpack, said he's most familiar with freshman forward BeeJay Anya, also a DeMatha product.
"I've got a lot of experience and I just want to help wherever I can," Whittenburg said.