Unfortunately, the successful mid-major program hasn't been able to retain two of its most recent successful coaches.
Two years ago, Jerry Kill left to become coach at Minnesota immediately after taking the Huskies to the Mid-American Conference championship game.
NIU athletic director Jeff Compher told the Tribune Saturday night that he is aware of the program's rare dilemma.
"It kind of reminds me of the time when our offense was scoring so fast at one point that one of the (assistant) coaches radioed down to Dave and said: 'Are we scoring too fast? Do you want us to slow down?' And of course Dave said: 'No, keep it going.' That's kind of the way I feel. Whoever we hire, it's like we're throwing him the keys to a Ferrari."
Doeren reportedly will have an annual compensation in the range of $1.8 million in Raleigh, N.C., according to CBSSports.com. He was making about $420,000 with NIU.
NIU ranks in the Top 25 nationally with a school-record 12 wins while awaiting its fifth straight bowl invitation on Sunday.
Compher said he is not certain who will coach the Huskies in their upcoming bowl game, and that it could depend on how quickly he can find Doeren's successor. He also said that he was not caught completely off guard by Doeren moving to a higher-profile program.
"It was not a surprise; it was nothing out of the blue. I have a little flag that goes up in my head when anybody gets to 10 wins in our league," Compher said. "That's kind of the magic number, and when that happens "
Compher said he will look at candidates from outside the program as well as internally. One candidate is believed to be current NIU offensive coordinator Rod Carey.
"There is great interest, as you might imagine," Compher said.
Doeren had a 23-4 record in just two years at NIU, leading the Huskies to back-to-back MAC titles, including Friday night's scintillating 44-37 victory in double overtime over Kent State at Ford Field in Detroit.
A former defensive coordinator at Wisconsin, Doeren informed the NIU players of his decision to accept the N.C. State position Saturday night.
When Kill left NIU two years ago right after the MAC championship game, a few remaining assistant coaches guided the Huskies to a bowl victory over Fresno State. Kill more than tripled his salary moving to Minnesota.
"I am honored and excited to join the Wolfpack," Doeren said in a statement. "(But) while I look forward, I want to acknowledge and thank the Northern Illinois players and fans."