Dave Doeren is staying, and that continuity will be good for the N.C. State, even if there may be an understandable step back next season with all the players the Wolfpack will lose.
No one wanted to change gears and veer in a different direction this offseason and no one would have expected that to happen had Tennessee not come calling to give Doeren the negotiating leverage he lacked after what probably should have been a 10-2 regular season ended up 8-4.
The real question here is what Doeren's new contract looks like, and just how much leverage his flirtation with a job no one else seems to want gave him. The guess here is some, but not a tremendous amount. Debbie Yow was willing to meet Doeren halfway at midseason with an extension and she was also willing to yank that extension off the table.
Doeren was able to get his salary into the middle of the ACC pack at $3 million and extend his contract five years out, which was entirely reasonable. If he was also able to get a bigger pool of money for his assistants, that would all be a fair reward for a tenure that has been, on the whole, fair.
To use one measure: The Wolfpack, in five years, has still yet to beat a team that finished above it in the Sagarin computer ratings but has lost four to teams that finished below it. Better opponents have become rarer as N.C. State has improved, from nine to five to six to four to two, but the Wolfpack still has yet to punch above its weight under Doeren.
And if N.C. State was able to hike up his buyout to deprive him of this kind of threaten-to-leave leverage in the future while preserving some flexibility for the next athletic director to make a change if he or she deems it necessary down the road, that'd be a fair result for the school as well.
The contract details beyond the term and money, when they come out, will be telling. For now, it's a result that will leave everyone reasonably satisfied. Doeren was at no risk of getting fired this offseason and N.C. State had no interest in making a change. Doeren would have been crazy to get mixed up in the mess at Tennessee and he was happy to stay at N.C. State.
With this settled, and Doeren locked in as N.C. State's coach for the foreseeable future, the focus can return to football -- and building on this season going forward.
Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, firstname.lastname@example.org, @LukeDeCock