BURLINGTON, N.C. – With red and white balloons flanking each side of the stage and Wolfpack Club signs centered on every table, the Alliance Convention Center at NAA headquarters became a hub for all things related to the North Carolina State Wolfpack on Tuesday at noon.
The Wolfpack Club held the third of a series of “Coaches Caravans” this week in Burlington at NAA headquarters, with men’s basketball coach Mark Gottfried, football coach Dave Doeren and Athletic Director Debbie Yow and other coaches speaking to the group of more than 100 attendees.
Wolfpack Club executive director Bobby Purcell kicked off the event and introduced each speaker, including legendary track coach Rollie Geiger, women’s cross country and track assistant coach Laurie Henes and wrapped up with a panel moderated by Voice of the Wolfpack Tony Haynes that consisted of Gottfried, Doeren and women’s basketball coach Wes Moore.
The event wrapped up with a question-and-answer session where Wolfpack fans and supporters asked questions about recruiting, returning players and how to build a successful culture and togetherness in their respective teams.
Gottfried, who is entering his sixth season with the Wolfpack, said building the right culture starts with being honest with people.
“Especially with my team and the guys that I deal with, I think probably the one word to me that stands out more than anything is honesty,” Gottfried said. “All three of us recruit young people. Every person we recruit whether it is a football player, women’s basketball player or men’s basketball player, their respect level will start with honesty. I think, you know, if you are not honest people will read right through it and there’s no respect there. Even in our sport, sometimes honesty is uncomfortable.”
Gottfried said if you don’t start with that honesty, you can’t build anything that will last.
“I have found over time that’s been one thing for me … you gotta be honest with kids and tell them the truth,” Gottfried said. “I think from there you have a chance to build a great relationship and then team building and all those things follow after.”
Doeren, who is entering his fifth season as N.C. State’s football coach, said his program spends a lot of time on teambuilding. He pointed out that his staff has created 12 commandments for the team, and they spend a lot of time discussing those pillars of the program.
“We try to do as many things as we can within our budget to keep the guys motivated, keep them focused and get them in some adverse situations,” Doeren said. “That’s one thing our strength staff does a great job of in the summer is teaching guys how to bond. The easiest way to do that, just like in the military, is shared adversity and getting them in those tough, tired positions where they have to be mentally tough and stick together.”
Moore, who is entering his fourth season as the women’s basketball coach in Raleigh, N.C., said building the right culture and environment starts during the recruiting process.
“If you recruit the right kinds of kids in your program those things are going to be a lot better,” Moore said. “If you put good ingredients in, then you are going to have good chemistry. We’re really big on the type people we bring in and we want to bring in young ladies that you can all be proud of.”
Moore closed by saying, “The people you surround yourself with is critical as well.”
The Wolfpack Club holds these events annually across the state of North Carolina, providing donors and fans the unique opportunity to learn about each athletic program and engage with N.C. State’s head coaches and administrators on a personal level.
The first Coaches Caravan was held April 21 in Raleigh, N.C. at the Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Football Practice Complex at Carter-Finley Stadium. After the Wake County event, the Coaches Caravan will held events in Cashiers and Charlotte on May 16, before heading to Burlington and Winston-Salem for May 17 event events.
Other events are scheduled later this week in Wilson, Richmond, Va., Lumerton, Wilmington and Atlantic Beach.
Tuesday’s event was one of several events being hosted at the Alliance Convention Center in May. The Alamance Chamber of Commerce, the Coastal Conservation Association and Taste of Alamance were among the groups hosting events at NAA headquarters this month.
“We’re happy that people are actively reaching out to us to use our event space because they know have either heard about it from other people or they’ve attended an event here and realize it is a gem in Alamance County,” NAA President and CEO Andy Albright said. “I’m an N.C. State alum, and I love having the Wolfpack Club here in our home. It makes me proud that they enjoy having the caravan at The Alliance’s headquarters.”