RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina State’s Holiday Bowl contest set for Dec. 28 against UCLA will be a homecoming of sorts for Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren.
“I didn’t live there long. My dad was in the Navy at the time,” Doeren said. “But I did live in Los Angeles until I was in the fourth grade. I have family in California still. It’s going to be a great trip.”
For Doeren, though, this is a business trip. The Wolfpack is one victory away from becoming just the second team in school history to win 10 games.
“The 10th win is very meaningful to this staff and our team and football family,” Doeren said. “It’s a legacy thing. These seniors want to say they were one of only two teams in 130-plus years of football that were able to accomplish that. So it’s very meaningful.”
The Wolfpack has never played a bowl game on the west coast. For most of the Pack players, this will be their first trip ever to California. And while goal No. 1 is to win the game, the life experiences gained from the trip are important, as well.
“Part of bowl games is life experience,” Doeren said. “Getting a chance to go out to a city most of our guys haven’t seen right there on the Pacific Ocean and get to go to the San Diego Zoo or SeaWorld and see a ship. I think we’re touring a Navy ship.”
The game will also give the N.C. State football program a huge amount of exposure.
“We’re on Fox. It’s a nationally televised game in the evening against a team that has an incredible football tradition,” Doeren said.
Wolfpack fans are passionate about their team and always seem to travel well, but this trip may be out of reach for most fans.
“That’s the negative,” Doeren said. “It’s going to definitely be a more expensive ticket than going to Orlando or Jacksonville. I would love to have Wolfpack Nation packing the stadium but I understand that’s a lot to ask.
“It’s unfortunate. You’d love to have your fanbase to go. They’re so good to us.”