The Wolfpacker

January 2013

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 21 of 79

Doeren Ready To Establish Relationships In Recruiting When NC State athletics director Debbie Yow announced Nov. 25 that she was firing Tom O'Brien after six seasons as the football coach for the Wolfpack, she made it clear that her new hire would be both aggressive and assertive on the recruiting trail. From the sounds of it, O'Brien's replacement, former Northern Illinois head football coach Dave Doeren, is both of those. "Recruiting is competition and it's relationships, and I love both of those things and I look forward to selling the product that we have here," Doeren said at his introductory press conference Dec. 2. Doeren has an extensive background dealing with recruiting. He coordinated the recruiting efforts at previous stops at Wisconsin and Kansas, as well as at Football Championship Subdivision power Montana. Through his experiences he has learned several valuable lessons that he will use on his new job in Raleigh. First is to try to start building a wall around the state of North Carolina. The mass exodus of the top talent crossing the borders for other programs has been building in recent years, and was never more visible than this fall when Georgia came close to reaching the national title game while featuring a pair of true freshman running backs from North Carolina. The starter was Todd Gurley, a native of Tarboro, which is a little more than an hour east of Raleigh. Gurley led the Bulldogs with 1,260 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. His backup was Raleigh native Keith Marshall, who ran for 723 yards and eight scores. "Seeing all the great players from North Carolina starting as freshmen at other schools is upsetting," Doeren said. "It is, and I am going to fight for those guys, and we're going to do it the right way." Doeren wants to start identifying the top players in the state when they are freshmen and sophomores, getting them on campus and at games early and often. He will also work to build a relationship that will include the local high school coaches. All of that is part of a process that Dorean said would "make it where they don't want to leave home." "If they want to leave, it's going to be really hard," Doeren continued. "They are going to have great relationships with me and our coaches. We're going to know them as people, we are going to know their moms and their dads and their mentors, whoever that person in that life that touches them we are going to know. "We are going to get them here, get them to our games, and we're going to make it very difficult. That's what you do." Doeren also understands the value of finding recruits that will fit your program. In Doeren's case, that includes recruits that have strong desires to be at NC State, represent the school and to get coached to be their best. "Those are people that I believe," Doeren said. "Those are all characteristics of champions. When I recruit, I will be looking at how good a football player they are, don't get me wrong, but I am also looking at the upside of their leadership Doeren has served as a recruiting coorabilities, their intangibles, their heart, looking at how much dinator in eight of his 18 years in college better can I make this guy in four years and how much can football and has landed several standhe help me do that. out players, including star running back "We've all heard the stories of guys that weren't recruited Montee Ball at Wisconsin. photo courtesy UW Athletic Communications that became great players, and those guys are just as important as the five-star guys. We'll be looking at everybody. I think you have to know what you want in your program. You have to know the system that you are recruiting them in to." Doeren does not feel that his background coaching predominantly in the Midwest will cause a learning curve to recruiting in the Southeast. He noted that while at Wisconsin he was responsible for recruiting the state of Florida. His most prized recruit, though, was four-star running back Montee Ball of Timberland High in Wentzville, Mo. Ball played as a true freshman in 2009 and leaves the school four seasons later as the NCAA's all-time leader in career touchdowns. He also led the country with 1,923 rushing yards in 2011. Doeren noted that during his time he has found that recruits like Ball are drawn to the brand and values of the school more than anything.Twenty recruits had already recognized NCSU's positives this recruiting cycle and given the Pack verbal commitments. Two — Weston (Fla.) Cypress Bay High running back Matt Dayes and Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola High defensive back Hassan Childs — have backed out of their pledges. Several others, such as Snellville (Ga.) Brookwood High wide receiver Kyrin Priester and Lake Mary (Fla.) High linebacker Jerod Fernandez, may have softened up in the days following O'Brien's dismissal. Doeren had already begun the process of reaching out to the 18 remaining pledges by the time of his introductory press conference. His goal is to assure the commits that all of their scholarship offers will be honored and at the same time begin the process of building a relationship with them. After all, as Doeren stated, that's what recruiting is all about. — Matt Carter cationed in North Carolina multiple times — his first trip was a fishing excursion to Asheville about a decade ago, but the family has returned multiple times since — and there were several times where his favorite pastime was mentioned during the press conference, likely with the state's fertile waters and welcoming atmosphere for an outdoorsman in mind. "In particular, his energy and passion for being at NC State caught my attention, "Yow said. "[It] served as a springboard for our conversation about opportunities to pursue excellence here." She was convinced that the 41-year-old could take NC State to heights that he has already reached at his previous school. She called him a player's coach and said that he is a man of integrity who will follow NCAA regulations. Lastly, she said he abides by the slogan she coined after taking the job, "refuse to accept the status quo." "He brings to NC State the total package of skills and values that will be required to elevate our program to national prominence over time," Yow said. "It became clear that our values aligned with each other, and as importantly, with our Chancellor and NC State campus community. He was our first choice among all candidates." Indianapolis Colts quarterback Chandler Harnish, who led the Huskies during Doeren's first season at NIU, went through the transition that returning NC State players will soon be experiencing. While helping the team to a victory in the GoDaddy. com Bowl, the signal-caller threw for 3,216 yards with 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions, while he also ran for 1,379 yards and 11 scores. The first-year coach quickly won Harnish and his teammates over, and they found immediate success. It was just the fifth season with double-digit wins in the 110 years of the program's existence and tied the school record for most in a single campaign. "I don't know the situation at NC State, but Coach Doeren expects to win right away," Harnish said. "He earned that respect right away from the players. It was easy to buy into his philosophy and his plan. It went really smoothly. "If you buy in, you'll have success right from the start." Doeren won the athletes' trust right away at his previous stop, where he stepped into a very similar situation as what he will go through with NC State. Atlanta Falcons linebacker Pat Schiller remembers that his new coach began building relationships with players before they even played in the 2010 Humanitarian Bowl, and it helped in the long run. 22  ■  the wolfpacker 20-25.Dave Doeren.indd 22 12/11/12 1:28 PM

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