Dereck Whittenburg Comes Home; Joins Mark Gottfried’s Staff

Derek Whittenburg, a key player on the 1983 NC State national championship team, is returning to Raleigh to join the men’s basketball coaching staff.

Whittenburg is a DeMatha (MD) graduate, a Morgan Wooten product and it showed on the court  He came to State possessing solid basketball fundamentals and experience, and was a highly recruited second-team high school All-American.  He was also a three sport man who played quarterback for the football team, and was a pitcher and third baseman.  It could be there that he first developed his leadership skills, something that ultimately led him to coaching.

Derek Whittenberg Slams Home The Basketball

As a player at NC State, he was tough as nails. “If somebody wasn’t working hard, I would jump them,” Whittenburg [told’s Tim Peeler] with no small amount of pride. “If they weren’t warming up hard, I would jump them. If they weren’t lifting weights hard, I would jump them. I was much more of the in-your-face kind of guy.”

Whittenburg, a streaky shooter, had to struggle to find his place on the team, and often found himself playing behind Kenny Matthews during his early years in Raleigh.  Eventually, he worked — and work is best operative word — onto the starting team, but still he was playing second fiddle as “the other shooting guard.”  Over the course of the infamous 1982-83 season, his outside shooting would save the Wolfpack from certain doom time after time.  His on-court play moved him from second fiddle to right-hand man for Valvano, who once said that “when Whit is on,” Wolfpack head coach Jim Valvano once said, “there’s nobody that I have more confidence in than him.”

After earning a B.S. in business administration from NC State in 1984, Whittenburg became a graduate assistant under Valvano and a member of his inner circle.  The two would talk  for hours at a time, he would later recall, with subjects ranging from basketball to matters outside the game.

Eventually, he’d be an assistant at George Mason, Long Beach State, and then back in Raleigh as a full-fledged assistant under Valvano until the end of the Valvano era in Raleigh.  Later, Whittenburg went on as an assistant at West Virginia and Georgia Tech before taking on the head coaching duties at Wagner and Fordham.  At Wagner, Whitt’s final team made the NCAA First Round, but at Fordham, he struggled, going a collective 69-112 with his best season being an 18-12 mark.

Now, he comes back to Raleigh to help Mark Gottfried as the “Senior Assistant to the Head Coach/Director of Player Development.” In that role, he will mentor Wolfpack players while assisting with player development.  What Derek Whittenburg will bring is a tough mindset, a dedication to the effort needed to make one’s self into a champion and a never-say-die attitude that many say was missing from the Wolfpack last year.

Welcome home, Whitt.


13-14 Basketball Alums Mark Gottfried

31 Responses to Dereck Whittenburg Comes Home; Joins Mark Gottfried’s Staff

  1. FunPack 07/30/2013 at 2:20 AM #

    Welcome home, #25. Good news.

    FYI Alpha, I think there is a typo there. DW did not play behind Ernie Myers. Myers was a freshman in 82-83, Whitt’s senior year. So was I. 🙂

  2. Alpha Wolf 07/30/2013 at 2:27 AM #

    FunPack, you’re right. My memory said it was Ernie, but it was really Kenny Matthews. I’ll fix it.

  3. tractor57 07/30/2013 at 7:05 AM #

    Maybe we are finally putting the demons at rest. I enjoyed hearing Whiit as the color man on a few games – obviously not polished for that role but the passion for the game was still there.

    Speaking of Myers I watched him crush Clemson in Clemson in ’83 while filling in for Whitt.

  4. graywolf 07/30/2013 at 7:15 AM #

    Welcome home Derek Whittenburg…..its been too long. This might be the gold spike in regards to staff.

  5. Semper_WolfPack 07/30/2013 at 8:46 AM #

    Welcome home, Whitt! GO PACK!!

  6. BJD95 07/30/2013 at 9:05 AM #

    Whit’s delivery wasn’t great, but he actually contributed substance to the broadcast. And the work he did on 30 for 30 should earn him our undying love and gratitude. I still cry every time I watch it.

    I met him at the old December CLT tourney, he was scouting while an assistant at GT. Very gracious, talked with me for several minutes, and his eyes still lit up talking about NC State (despite what we did to V still being a very fresh wound).

  7. Texpack 07/30/2013 at 10:00 AM #

    I would love to see a 3-pt shooting contest between a 21 yr old Whit and a 21 yr old Scott Wood. You’d need fire extinguishers for the nets. The best two pure shooters in my 45 years of Pack basketball memory.

    Welcome Home!

  8. blpack 07/30/2013 at 12:34 PM #

    This is great news. He will be tough, but fair on the guys and no one will be able to slack off. Good to have Whitt back.

  9. SqlWolf 07/30/2013 at 1:49 PM #

    “I would love to see a 3-pt shooting contest between a 21 yr old Whit and a 21 yr old Scott Wood. You’d need fire extinguishers for the nets. The best two pure shooters in my 45 years of Pack basketball memory.”

    Where does Rodney Monroe fit in this? I thought he could be considered one of the greats as a pure shooter.

  10. PackerInRussia 07/30/2013 at 2:34 PM #

    This is awesome. Imagine if we bring back some of the other former players and have a whole coaching stuff of former greats!
    But, for real though, cool to have him on the staff. And thanks for reminding me of the 30 for 30 episode. Someone sent it to me and I got busy and didn’t have a chance to watch it and then I forgot all about it. Had been looking forward to it ever since it came back. I need to invite over friends and make an event of it; a little American culture.

  11. TLeo 07/30/2013 at 2:49 PM #

    Great to have him back and in a position where he can mentor these players and help motivate them. I feel sure he will not hesitate to “get in their face” and give them straight talk if he feels they need that to motivate them.

  12. wufpup76 07/30/2013 at 4:34 PM #

    Welcome back Derek

  13. highstick 07/30/2013 at 4:53 PM #

    Welcome home, DW and I’m not talking about a Waldrop!

  14. tractor57 07/30/2013 at 5:03 PM #

    BJD that 30 for 30 piece was some of the best TV I’ve seen since that great pass. If you could watch and not tear up you have no heart.

    As a color man with some time I’m sure he would have been at the top of the game.

    In my opinion a very welcome addition to the staff.

  15. Gene 07/30/2013 at 5:05 PM #

    “going a collective 69-112 with his best season being an 18-12 mark.”

    I’m not sure how or why the wheels came of on his coaching stint at Fordham, but 18-12, in his fourth year there, was pretty damn good considering he took over a 2* win team the year before he was at Fordham, which had never won an A-10 conference game until Whitt’s tenure as coach and had not had a winning season in ages.

    *Technically they had 4 wins, but got two of those wins via forfeit because St. Boneventure had to vacate their wins for that year due to some NCAA infraction.

  16. XpatriateWolf 07/30/2013 at 5:42 PM #

    “God’s in his heaven all’s right with the world”

  17. BJD95 07/30/2013 at 6:27 PM #

    My $$ would be on Rodney Monroe. Smoothest stroke I’ve ever seen.

  18. archdalepack 07/30/2013 at 6:43 PM #

    Great to have Whittenburg back. History matters. Should add another recruiter who can sell our program!

  19. OwenDorm83 07/30/2013 at 8:44 PM #

    “Basket by Whittenburg, Number 25”

  20. MISTA WOLF 07/31/2013 at 1:44 AM #

    I’ll take Anthony Grundy all day over anybody. Even though his shooting % wasn’t as good as RM, SW or DW ( I’m pretty sure), his awkward release of shooting cockeyed blows my mind to this day.

  21. tdouble 07/31/2013 at 12:43 PM #

    DW was about as terrible as they get as a color analyst.

  22. TheCOWDOG 07/31/2013 at 2:49 PM #

    Piss off…He was a low key knowledgeable as they come.

    A relief from every other color guy feeling the need to yap between every…single. ..bounce.

  23. packalum44 07/31/2013 at 3:18 PM #

    It has not been mentioned, but he is taking Larry Farmer’s position.

    He will not be able to recruit in this role, at least formally travel to AAU tournaments and High Schools etc… My understanding is the NCAA limits you to 3 assistants (Moxley, Early & Lutz.

    When recruits visit I’m sure he will do his part. Hopefully we are sending out signed copies of 30 for 30 to everyone we recruit.

    Off base but is it not funny that Pepperdine and Jim Harrick came the closest to disrupting that great piece of history….

  24. highstick 07/31/2013 at 6:56 PM #
  25. Wufpacker 07/31/2013 at 7:57 PM #

    “DW was about as terrible as they get as a color analyst.”

    I’m not gonna ask.

    Style over substance? Awfully close to “To seem rather than to be”….isn’t it?

    Go west, young man.

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