Wolfpack hires ex-ECU football coach McNeill in advisory role

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 8, 2020

RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina State has hired former East Carolina head coach and Oklahoma assistant Ruffin McNeill for an advisory role on its football staff.

The school said Tuesday that McNeill would serve as a special assistant to head coach Dave Doeren. Duties include assisting player development analysis, leading special projects and outreach to alumni, campus and community groups.

“I’ve known Ruffin since the beginning of my coaching career,” Doeren said in a statement. “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. … 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.”

McNeill, 61, was the Pirates’ head coach from 2010-15 and guided his alma mater to four bowl appearances during a college coaching career spanning more than three decades. He later joined Oklahoma’s staff under Lincoln Riley — who had worked under him at ECU — for three seasons as assistant head coach.

McNeill stepped down in January to help care for his father in North Carolina. In a video teleconference with reporters, McNeill said his 86-year-old father is in a rehabilitation center in McNeill’s hometown of Lumberton, about 100 miles south of the N.C. State campus in Raleigh.

“It was more the right opportunity with the right people,” McNeill said, adding: “This worked out in perfect concert with me being back home in the state, able to see my dad and then have a chance to work for Dave.”