Athletic director Debbie Yow traveled to DeKalb, Ill. on Saturday to meet with Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren, who led the Huskies to the Mid-American Conference title on Friday night.
Doeren, who turns 41 on Monday, has a 23-4 record in two seasons at NIU with two MAC titles. The Huskies beat Kent State, 44-37 in double-overtime on Friday in Detroit, to improve to 12-1 on the season.
Yow dismissed coach Tom O'Brien on Sunday and interviewed Louisiana Tech's Sonny Dykes and Clemson assistant Chad Morris earlier in the week. Doeren and Kent's Darrell Hazell moved up the Yow's list as the week progressed.
NIU was ranked No. 21 in the Bowl Championship Series standings when the week began and has an outside shot at a BCS bowl after Friday's win over No. 17 Kent State (11-2).
Yow has said she wants N.C. State to be an annual contender for the top 25 and the ACC title.
Doeren was an assistant at Kansas and Wisconsin before taking the Northern Illinois job in Dec. 2010. His background is as a linebackers' coach and defensive coordinator but the Huskies run a version of the spread offense and rank 12th in the country in scoring (40.5 points per game) and 16th in total offense (482.5 yards per game).
Doeren's contract, which is worth $420,000 annually at NIU, has a $750,000 buyout.