Dave Doerens mother has come around in the last couple of decades, though it may have taken a while.
Dorens intent when he attended Drake University in Des Moines, IA, was to get a good education, play football and go to medical school. He wanted to be a doctor. His mother, Susan, really wanted him to be a doctor.
So after whetting the appetite for coaching while he was still in school, Doeren made a decision that surely wasnt going to please his mom: He wasnt going to be a doctor, after all, he was going to coach football.
My mom was mad when I made the choice to become a coach, said Doeren, who this past weekend was named the new head coach at North Carolina State.
Doeren had already taken the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and was in the process of preparing to transition himself academically. But in the summer following his junior year at Drake, his high school coach asked him to conduct a 7-on-7 practice session. Current coaches were not allowed to participate, but former players could. So he did.
I did that, and when I left I went home sand said, Im not going to be a doctor, Im going to be a coach. Thats the funnest three hours Ive ever had in my life, Doeren said. From that point on that was it, I was going to be a head coach. I just didnt know how long it was going to take me.
Doerens contract at N.C. State is worth 1.8 million annually and is for five years, according to NCSU athletic director Debbie Yow. There are rollover clauses based on performance built in as well. Doeren joked after Sundays introductory press conference that his mother is pretty pleased with him as a coach now.
But the 41-year-old coaches ascent to the ACC wasnt an overnight one, and is laced with a fascinating string of experiences.
He has coached at seemingly every level of football. Doeren was a high school assistant coach before taking on several roles at his alma mater. He then worked at Southern Cal, Montana, Kansas, and Wisconsin, where he was a sought after defensive coordinator. The last two seasons have been as the head coach at Northern Illinois where he led the Huskies to a 23-4 overall record and spot in the Orange Bowl this season.
Doeren wont coach his former team versus Florida State on January 1. Hes in Raleigh already working on building a staff and other aspects of the infrastructure of his new job.
The coaching bug that got to Doeren during that 7-on-7 workout 20 years ago was more a product of a seed that was planted by his grandfather, Thomas Glennon, a long-time track and basketball coach in Kansas.
I grew up being around that kind of person that inspired people, Doeren said, referring to his grandfather. And seeing how his former athletes would still contact him and refer to him as Coach even when he was 70 years old was always kind of special to me.
Doeren acknowledges coaching is in his blood, which explains why hes done whatever it takes to make it work and stick in the business.
As an assistant at Drake, when coaches were paid just nine months out of the year, Doeren made extra money mowing grass at a physical plant and he even cooked food at night at a Mexican restaurant.
Thats what football coaches, do, he said at his introductory press conference at NIU two years ago. They have a passion and do whatever you can to stay in the biz. Its led me to where Im standing now.
In an attempt to increase interest in the NIU program after replacing Jerry Kill, who had won 11 games in the prior season and is now at Minnesota, Doeren created a web series called Doren Discovers that ran on NIUs official web site.
Among the things Doeren did was sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch at a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field, drove a Formula One race care more than 125 miles per hour at Chicago Speedway, and to top it off, he jumped out of an air plane 14,000 feet into the sky.
The more subtle side of Doeren speaks more to his true nature, however.
A Kansas City Chiefs and Royals fan growing up he was particularly fond of Royals legend George Brett Doerens love of fishing was born out of spending days with his grandfather as a kid. And now Doeren looks forward to teaching his kids how to fly fish in North Carolina, which has a lot of watering holes, lakes and rivers for their choosing. Thats one of several reasons he and his wife, Sara, chose to live the next stage of their lives in Raleigh.
They knew opportunities would come at the end of the season and began looking at possible openings and researching those schools and communities. And when the N.C. State job opened, they absorbed as much as they could from the Internet and pretty much placed N.C. State at the top of their wish list above Auburn, California and others.
It helped that they had been to the Old North State several times prior to this past weekend.
After reading an article in a fishing magazine about a fishing spot just outside of Asheville, the Doerens went there about 10 years ago. The visited the Biltmore, Appalachian State, where Doeren friended legendary ASU coach Jerry Moore, who retired a few days ago.
The Doerens returned to North Carolina a few more times, and when the opportunity came to actually move to the state, they jumped on it.
And here they are, a part of Wolfpack Nation with an opportunity and stability that has his moms approval.