RALEIGH, N.C. — Dave Doeren wanted to go somewhere he could have an impact.
That’s one reason the new North Carolina State football coach said taking over the Wolfpack program is “a great opportunity.”
The school held a news conference to introduce Doeren Sunday, a day after announcing Doeren would leave Northern Illinois to replace Tom O’Brien as coach.
“It seemed like a place that was very close to getting to the next step,” Doeren said. “I feel like I can make a difference here. That was the one thing I wanted to be able to do.”
Doeren took the job less than a day after leading Northern Illinois to a second straight Mid-American Conference championship.
Doeren was 23-4 in two seasons as Northern Illinois coach, including a 17-1 in conference play. He won’t coach the No. 16 Huskies (12-1) in their bowl game.
He takes over a program in need of a spark. The school hasn’t appeared in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game and hasn’t won a league title since 1979.
The school fired O’Brien last week after six seasons. He went 40-35 in his six seasons in Raleigh and 5-1 against rival North Carolina, but his teams were just 22-26 in ACC play and 1-14 in Atlantic Division road games.
Before taking over at Northern Illinois, Doeren spent five years as an assistant at Wisconsin, where he served stints as defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator.
Doeren, who turns 41 on Monday, also worked as an assistant at Kansas, Montana and Drake — his alma mater.
Doeren helped develop two-way threat Jordan Lynch into a possible Heisman Trophy contender — with nearly 3,000 yards passing and 1,771 yards rushing, he ranks third nationally in total offense — and his Husky teams scored at least 40 points in 16 of 27 games. They average 40.8 points this season and rank in the top 15 in the nation in five offensive stat categories.
N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow described Doeren as an overachiever who follows NCAA rules with a relentless work ethic.
“He brings to N.C. State the total package of skills and values that will be required to elevate our program to national prominence over time,” Yow said.
Doeren said he began making calls Saturday night to recruits who verbally committed to play for the Wolfpack under O’Brien.