The event, emceed by WRAL’s Jeff Gravley, raised money through auction bid and allowed fans the chance to hear from head coaches of nearby universities as the football season is slightly more than a month away.
Joining Doeren at the event were Duke’s David Cutcliffe, North Carolina’s Larry Fedora, East Carolina’s Ruffin McNeill and Jerry Mack of North Carolina Central.
The Pigskin Preview had been previously emceed by the late Don Shea, who passed away in February at the age of 77. In lieu of a moment of silence, Gravley asked those in attendance to stand and clap to honor the veteran sportscaster and local celebrity.
Several coaches, including Cutcliffe and McNeill spoke fondly of Shea and his work prior to addressing their respective teams.
The auctioning off of team helmets to be autographed by its respective head coach has become a common and somewhat competitive portion of the Pigskin Preview. It was no different on Thursday, as Gravley refused to take it easy on the wallets of those in attendance.
With all proceeds going to a terrific cause, the helmets went for the following prices:
East Carolina: $2,500
North Carolina: $2,000
NC State: $1,500
North Carolina Central: $800
Off The Field Talk
One of the neat parts of Thursday’s event came when Gravley asked the head coaches some offbeat questions, both in the realm of college football and off the field. The answers got incredibly interesting.
For starters, there were queries about what was each coach’s first vehicle and then it veered elsewhere before finally reaching the upcoming season.
What was your first car?
Doeren: I had an old Honda Civic. There is not really a special story to it. It was a pretty good car until I hit a tree with it.
Who was your first sports hero?
Doeren: Ronnie Lott. I loved watching him play and the way he carried himself/ Growing up in Kansas City, it would also be George Brett.
What three things would you want on a deserted island?
Doeren: I’m going to have a fishing pole, my dog and my family.
The conversation then steered back into football. Each coach was asked about the current playoff system after giving an initial statement of their team towards the beginning of the proceedings.
Doeren felt that the College Football Playoff was fine in its current state, with only four teams. He saw no need to expand to eight schools at this point and related how, while working at Montana, he experienced the grind of a tournament play.
“No one wants that,” Doeren said of the format. “You’d have to cut something to add something.”