It is obvious what NC State athletic director Debbie Yow saw in Dave Doeren: man who elevated a good Northern Illinois football program into a great football program.
That is what she wants for her Wolfpack.
NC State is not a program in major need of a rebuilding job or an overhaul. NC State is a winning program, as evidenced by its recent bowl streak. It just needs somebody to get 'em over the top, to win the important games that simply haven't been won before on a consistent basis. Doeren has proven he can do that.
The Huskies have been one of the best teams in the MAC over the last several years. Doeren didn't rebuild a loser. But they also had a reputation for not being able to win the big games. The year before Doeren arrived, a Top 25 Northern Illinois team was upset in the MAC championship game. That group went on to win 11 games.
Rather than tear up the foundation, Doeren enhanced it -- and made the entire program better. He won MAC championships in consecutive seasons -- which just so happen to be his first two seasons as a head coach. He went 23-4 and 17-1 in conference play in two seasons in charge. The team he leaves behind is on the verge of making history as the first MAC school to potentially play in a BCS game.
That is textbook elevating good to great. But look at his conference mark. That had to be a huge factor in why Yow hired him. Tom O'Brien went 22-26 in ACC play in six seasons. That is the big number inked in red and circled, and highlighted on the school's press release announcing his dismissal.
The only area that could give NC State observers pause is recruiting. Remember, Yow said last week she wanted a coach who could bring in "Alabama-type talent." That has ratcheted up expectations out of the gate.
Doeren has no recruiting ties to the state of North Carolina, holding coaching jobs primarily in the Midwest throughout his career. He said during his introductory news conference Sunday that he recruited Florida heavily when he served as an assistant at Wisconsin for five seasons.
That helps, because creating pipelines into Florida should be a priority. But Doeren also talked about making North Carolina his No. 1 priority, even listing top in-state players who left North Carolina for their college opportunities.
"We will recruit the right way, we will recruit extremely hard, we will involve the high school coaches, we will turn over every stone and those stones are going to start in-state," Doeren said. "We will fight for every kid who belongs here. ... Recruiting is competition, it's relationships and I love both of those things. I look forward to selling what we have here."
Doeren also called NC State a "destination job" and said NC State was the only position he considered. He is not going to get much time on the clock to get NC State to live up to expectations, especially since the bar already is set so high. Doeren knows he is in the toughest division in the ACC, with Florida State and Clemson clearly at the top. And yet, he says he is not much for looking at past performances.
"My job is to make this team a champion," Doeren said. "I don't know how long it will take. I don't think it's my job to look at what happened before me as much as what I can do now."
What he can do is start immediately on the recruiting trail to try and build a winner.