The Wolfpacker's coaching hot board had four candidates remaining for the the vacant NC State head coaching job. But one was quickly rising to the forefront.
Here is an in-depth look, at new NC State coach Dave Doeren:
* The soon-to-be 41-year-old was a four-year letterwinner at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and broke into coaching at Shawnee Mission Northwest High in Shawnee, Kansas.
* His first college job came at his alma mater, where he first served as the linebackers coach in 1995 and added defensive coordinator duties in 1997.
* Doeren became a graduate assistant at USC, where he was from 1998-99, before moving on to Division I-AA traditional power Montana, where he coached the secondary and also served as the recruiting coordinator for one year. The Grizzlies won the National Championship in 2001 and went 28-3 with Doeren on staff.
* Next was four years at Kansas, where he was first the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator before spending his last season as the co-defensive coordinator. The Jayhawks led the Big 12 and ranked No. 3 nationally in rushing defense in 2005, and also checked in 11th nationally for total defense.
* Doeren started in 2006 as Wisconsin's co-defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator. He became the sole defensive coordinator in 2008, and his defenses were consistently ranked in the top 25 of the NCAA. The Badgers went 49-15 with him on staff. Current Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema was the co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State when Doeren was at Kansas during 2002 season.
* Was named the head coach at Northern Illinois on Dec. 13, 2010. The Huskies had been successful under current Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, but they have even stepped it up a level under the new coach. He won the MAC and GoDaddy.com Bowl in his first season at the helm, defeating Arkansas State 38-20. It marked the school's first conference title since 1983 and the squad also tied the school record with 11 wins. This year, the team set the program standard with 12 victories.
* Currently, he has a career record of 23-4, including 17-1 against conference foes, as the head coach. His team has also won a pair of MAC West Division titles in his two years.
* NIU currently holds the nation's longest home winning streak, at 22 games, which dates back to 2009, and the longest conference winning streak, which stands at 17.
* Only NIU and Oregon have won 11 or more games in each of the last three seasons, and the Huskies are the only FBS team in the land to win 20 of their last 21.
* The team is ranked No. 18 in the Coaches' Poll and 19th in the AP listing - those are the school's best since 2003. In the BCS rankings, they check in at No. 21.
* This year is the third-straight season for NIU with double-digit wins; in their first 108 years of football, the school experienced just three such campaigns.
* ESPN football analyst Chris Spielman in this article: "I would hire him. If you're looking for a coach, he'd be on my radar, absolutely, because of what I know about him and the time I've been around him and how he operates and what he's done to have Northern Illinois on the streak they're on. I'm not saying he improved what Jerry Kill did, but he's kind of built on it and kept it going.
"I had no doubt once Dave got a shot he'd be a fine coach. He's intelligent, personable, a nice guy, intelligent on offense and defense, extremely organized. I know one thing: He can recruit."
* From that same ESPN.com article, NIU is due to receive $750,000 if Doeren is hired away from a new coach. They had a similar clause built into Kill's contract and received $300,000 when he was hired away to his current job.
* Huskies have come back to win despite a second-half deficit in eight games over the past two years. The most noteworthy was when they trailed 20-0 to Ohio in the MAC Championship before storming back for a 23-20 victory.
* Their only loss in the last 21 games was an 18-17 defeat in the season-opener this year against Iowa at neutral-site Soldier Field.
* The only big loss he has suffered as a head coach, was a 49-7 defeat, at the hands of No. 7 Wisconsin and former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson, his former employer, on Sept. 17, 2011. Although his team started 2-3 in 2011, the other losses were a 45-42 defeat at Kansas and a 48-41 defeat at Central Michigan. Star quarterback Chandler Harnish became the "Mr. Irrelevant" for being the last pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, but earned a spot on the Indianapolis Colts.
* The school has ranked in the nation's top five for APR in both of his seasons as the head coach.
* He has coached in nine bowl games and two national championships (winning one at Montana) during his coaching career. Including this year, he has also coached on six conference championship squads. In all, during his 18 years as a head coach, his teams have qualified for the postseason 12 times and posted a 157-69-1 record overall.
* Some of his pupils at Wisconsin: NFL linebackers Jonathan Casillas of the New Orleans Saints, DeAndre Levy of the Detroit Lions and Wisconsin redshirt junior Chris Borland, who was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by league coaches this year and won Big Ten Defensive Freshman of the Year honors under Doeren.
* Recruited star running back Montee Ball to Wisconsin. Ball was a Heisman Trophy finalist and consensus first-team All-American last year.
* Listed as running a multiple offense and 4-3 defense in NIU media guide.
* This year, his team has averaged 40.5 points per game, while his defense has allowed 17.5 points per contest.
* According to Yahoo! Sports, Doeren e-mailed Heisman Trophy voters on Tuesday to talk up his quarterback Jordan Lynch for the award. The redshirt junior, who was just named the MAC Player of the Year, is ranked among the FBS' top 10 in total offense (third, 363.42 yards per game) and rushing yards (fifth, 134.25 per game).
The quarterback needs just 92 yards on the ground to break the FBS single-season record for rushing yards, while he has already set an NCAA quarterback record with 10 straight 100-yard rushing games. He has also thrown for at least 150 yards in 11-straight contests, and is just the second player in FBS history to rush for more than 1,500 yards (1,611) and pass for more than 2,500 (2,750) in the same campaign.
This has also been accomplished despite the fact that he is in his first year as the starting quarterback, is playing for his fourth different position coach in four years and is working behind an offensive line that entered the year with no returning starters.