The first question North Carolina State football fans asked at the end of 2013 was from people wondering if Dave Doeren was in over his head.
The first year was rough, but any college fan knows it isn’t the first year that tells the story. It is what happens afterward.
The Wolfpack went 3-9 in 2013 and missed a bowl game for the first time in four years. They hadn’t had a three-win season since 2006, which was the final year Chuck Amato served as head coach.
Amato’s departure began the Tom O’Brien era, and the current Virginia associate head coach brought the Wolfpack two bowl wins in his six-year run with the school. When O’Brien left, Doeren came over from Northern Illinois and got off to a rough start.
Now, following the Wolfpack’s 34-27 win over Central Florida in the St. Petersburg Bowl, North Carolina State has eight wins for the first time since 2011. That is a huge accomplishment for the Wolfpack, who recorded a five-win improvement in the standings.
What will it do for the recruiting at North Carolina State? The Wolfpack already have 17 players committed for the class of 2015, including four-star players like Darian Roseboro, Nyheem Hines and Emanuel McGirt. The Wolfpack haven’t recruited heavily outside of North Carolina, but any positive movement could bring a flood of interest from players.
Keep in mind this is a program that Lou Holtz once coached for several successful seasons in the 1970s. At one point, North Carolina State was a destination for top talent. The Wolfpack played in the Atlantic Coast Conference‘s Atlantic Division, where Louisville, Boston College and Florida State also played. That was a tough division.
Soon, if the Wolfpack keep this up, you may be hearing more about this school in a sport other than basketball.
Doeren will make sure that euphoric feeling lasts for more than a day.