RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Dave Doeren wanted to go somewhere he could have an impact. He'll get that chance with a stagnant North Carolina State program in need of a push forward.
The school held a news conference to introduce Doeren on Sunday. It capped a busy 48-hour period that saw Doeren lead Northern Illinois to a second straight Mid-American Conference championship on Friday night, then agree to take over the Wolfpack on Saturday and replace Tom O'Brien.
"It seemed like a place that was very close to getting to the next step," Doeren said. "I feel like I can make a difference here. That was the one thing I wanted to be able to do."
Athletic director Debbie Yow said Doeren would receive a five-year contract worth about $1.8 million a year. There's also an automatic two-year extension that kicks in if his program finishes in the top 25 in either of his first two seasons.
"He is a smart guy," Yow said. "Smart. Creative. He's not wed to a system. He's going to do what he has to do to match up what talent we have with whatever it is he's trying to do. ... That's a really important trait for any coach."
Doeren was 23-4 in two seasons as Northern Illinois coach, including a 17-1 in conference play. He won't coach the No. 16 Huskies (12-1) in their bowl game.
Doeren turns 41 on Monday.
"I wasn't going to spend a whole lot of time looking around," Doeren said. "At NIU, I had a very good team coming back. ... I wasn't going to leave it for just anything. I wasn't going to leave it for a place I didn't believe in or a place I didn't want to raise my family in."
He takes over a program in need of a spark. The school hasn't appeared in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game and hasn't won a league title since 1979.
The school fired O'Brien last week after six seasons. He went 40-35 in his six seasons in Raleigh and 5-1 against rival North Carolina while his teams reached four bowls. But the Wolfpack went just 22-26 in ACC play and 1-14 in Atlantic Division road games under the former Boston College coach.
Yow said Doeren was her top choice, though she worried whether the Wolfpack could land him with so many coaching vacancies in BCS conferences.
Doeren said he began making calls Saturday night to recruits who verbally committed to play for the Wolfpack under O'Brien. He met with the current players Sunday as they prepare for a bowl game under interim coach Dana Bible, a longtime assistant to O'Brien.
Before taking over at Northern Illinois, Doeren spent five years as an assistant at Wisconsin, where he served stints as defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator.
Doeren helped develop two-way threat Jordan Lynch into a possible Heisman Trophy contender - with nearly 3,000 yards passing and 1,771 yards rushing, he ranks third nationally in total offense - and his Husky teams scored at least 40 points in 16 of 27 games. They average 40.8 points this season and rank in the top 15 in the nation in five offensive stat categories.
Yow described Doeren as an overachiever who follows NCAA rules with a relentless work ethic.
"There's no shortcuts - I believe in that," Doeren said. "I believe shortcuts are turnovers, shortcuts are losses. ... If we want to be a consistent top-25 program, then we have to be tireless workers that understand that that's our charge. And we will be."