Dave Doeren surveyed the room at his introductory news conference in December 2012 and explained why NC State was such an attractive job.

Doeren, who had won 23 games in two seasons as the head coach at Northern Illinois, was born and raised in the Midwest but had spent time in North Carolina. His family had vacationed in and around Asheville twice, visiting Lake Lure at the recommendation of a fishing magazine.

Living in North Carolina felt like the right fit from a quality-of-life standpoint, he said. More importantly, so too did coaching at NC State, a program that despite its strong history and fertile recruiting ground had not won an ACC championship since 1979.

“(NC State) seemed like a place that was very close to getting to the next step,” Doeren said at the time. “My job is to do everything I can to make this team a champion. I don’t know how long that’ll take me, but that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Wolfpack fans are still waiting.

Doeren and NC State have made for a strong fit over the past decade. His 72 victories are the second-most in school history, and his eight bowl bids are the most of any Wolfpack coach. He’s gritty and defensive-minded — and maybe even a little bit prickly — and down to earth enough to shotgun a beer with fans or smoke a cigar on live television, as he did in 2021 after NC State beat Clemson for the first time in 10 years.