"I am very gratified that Mike Archer has agreed to join our staff here at NC State," said O'Brien. "Because of his many years of experience, both on the collegiate and professional levels, and his wealth of knowledge, I feel that he will make invaluable contributions to our program."
With 16 of his top 22 players either freshmen or sophomores, Archer's defensive unit forced 28 turnovers last season, as the Wildcats ranked fifth nationally in turnover margin. The squad finished its season with a win over Clemson in the Music City Bowl, posting a 4-2 turnover advantage and limited the Tigers to just six points until the final seven minutes of the game when Kentucky used a prevent defense.
Prior to his most recent stint at Kentucky, Archer spent seven seasons as the linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, helping develop that group into one of the top units in the NFL. Four of his linebackers were named to the Pro Bowl (two were two-time selections) and another was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Steelers won four divisional titles during his tenure with the team.
"Mike Archer will be a great asset to NC State University's football program," said NC State alumnus and former Steelers' head coach Bill Cowher. "As our linebacker coach for seven years at Pittsburgh, he made valuable contributions to our team. He is a great recruiter and has great experience as a head coach at LSU and as an assistant coach ."
Archer has coached 24 years on the collegiate level, helping guide his teams to bowl games at every stop. He got his start in coaching at his alma mater, Miami (Fla.), as a graduate assistant and administrative assistant before serving as defensive backs coach for the Hurricanes from 1979-83. During his five years as a full-time assistant, Miami posted a 41-16 and won the 1983 national championship.
Archer left Miami for LSU in 1984, coaching defensive backs that season and then also serving as defensive coordinator for the next two campaigns. In his three seasons as an LSU assistant, the Tigers posted a 26-8-2 mark and played in three bowl games.
In 1987, Archer became the youngest head coach in the nation when he earned that title at LSU. In his four seasons in that capacity, he led the Tigers to a 27-18-1 mark, two bowl games and the 1988 Southern Conference title.
After leaving LSU, Archer spent two seasons (1991-92) as the linebackers coach at Virginia, where he was on the staff with Tom O'Brien. From 1993-95 he spent his first stint as the defensive coordinator at Kentucky.
A native of State College, Pa., Archer was a three-year letterman at defensive back and punter for Miami, starting at safety for two seasons. As a senior, he was named the team's scholar-athlete of the year.
Archer, 53, and his wife Barbara have two children. Jeff graduated from Kentucky in 2006 after playing football and baseball for the Wildcats and is now a coach at Lexington's (Ky.) Dunbar High School. His daughter Betsy is currently a senior at UK and will graduate in May with a degree in TV and radio communications.