NC State football is welcoming a very familiar figure back to the Tarheel State.
In January, Oklahoma announced that Ruffin McNeill would be stepping down as outside linebackers coach. While McNeill wasn’t retiring from the coaching profession, the Sooners confirmed, he left to help care for his ailing father. In North Carolina.
Speaking of which, NC State confirmed Tuesday that McNeill jas joined Dave Doeren‘s extended football staff. Specifically, McNeill will carry the title of special assistant to the head coach.
Suffice to say, the two men are very familiar with one another. From the school’s release:
Doeren has known McNeill, who boasts four decades of coaching experience, for more than 20 years and their professional paths have crossed several times. When Doeren was a graduate assistant at USC in 1999, McNeill was the defensive line coach at nearby Fresno State. The two coached in the Big 12 together from 2002-05 – Doeren at Kansas and McNeill at Texas Tech – and for Doeren’s first three years at NC State, McNeill was the head coach at East Carolina.
“I’ve known Ruffin since the beginning of my coaching career,” Doeren said. “Not only is he one of my closest friends in the profession, but he’s been a mentor to me since I was 24 years old. We’ve crossed paths on the recruiting trail many times over the past 22 years and have been friends and competitors. Having a former head coach on our staff who I can trust and have known for almost my entire career is a huge benefit for me personally, as well as for our entire program.
“As a North Carolina native and a former coach at Appalachian State and ECU, Ruffin has great relationships and ties across our state. I am looking forward to working with him and want to welcome him and his wife Erlene to the Wolfpack family.”
In addition to serving as an advisor to Doeren, McNeill “will be a source of outreach for Wolfpack football to campus, alumni, and community groups on behalf of the program.” Player development analysis will also be a part of his job description.
Before his time in Charlottesville, McNeill was the head coach at his alma mater, East Carolina, from 2010-2015 before being abruptly kicked to the curb shortly after the season ended. From 2000-2009, he was an assistant at Texas Tech.
“Dave and I have been very good friends and colleagues and I’ve followed his career over the past 20 years,” said McNeill. “I have the highest respect for him as a coach and cherish our long friendship. Erlene and I are happy to be back in North Carolina and very appreciative of the opportunity.
“I look forward to being a resource for the entire staff, but especially for Dave. I’ve been in that chair and know the pressures that come along with it, so I hope to be a sounding board for him.”