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. Adventuroo 07/31/2013 at 8:28 PM #

    Interesting comments and the “twist”. I am really happy that Whit is joining the team. He was very gracious at the screening of the Jimmy V special and seems really down to earth and sincere.

    Having someone with a great WORK ethic on the staff is a plus….maybe ole’ 2 Ringer in Light Blue needs to emulate that concept with his bunch of scalawags and their blingy mouthguards….


    As to the Harrick connection, Coach H attends a lot of practices. I think that he will raze Whit and Whit will raze him back. Competitive folks do that in good humor… well as mutual respect.

    I have decided that if Whit does NOT restore the “Magic” that Terry Gannon will be next. We have tried Lowe and now Whit. Lorenzo, God rest his soul, is not available.

    Whit is a better alternative that Cozell…and I love him. He was in PT with me a few times and very outgoing and personable. BUT….we need the wizard or whatever to bring in the magic dust (that has a very negative connotation these days)….so maybe we need the guy that owns the lamp that Barbara Eden lived in….

    Happy for the team. BUT BB can wait as we have FB to play and I am looking forward to the QB competition.


  2. TheCOWDOG 07/31/2013 at 8:46 PM #

    I like substance. I like whim. I like the culminating of both. I don’t like tdouble.

    Not one bit.

    If there was a forum I could take it to…I’d extend an invitation to work it out.

    Nah…I treat forums like a good bar & grill, and tdouble ‘n me ain’t likely to share a bar stool.

  3. Pack1998 07/31/2013 at 9:26 PM #

    This is great. Always loved Whit – Gott needs a guy that will push back.

    Note – Cremmins lost a lot once Whit left.

    And coming off the 30 for 30 – gold mine for recruiting – damn, I love it.

  4. Mike 08/01/2013 at 9:35 AM #

    Been on vacation and away from computer, but glad to see this move. Whitt can bring back some intensity and so nice to see the gang ocming back after HWSNBN pushed them away.

    Reading the comments though, my first thought on the Wood vs Whitt contest was what about Monroe? Then later I saw he was brought up, and I have to say my $$ would probably be Rodney.

  5. highstick 08/01/2013 at 10:54 AM #

    How are you gonna pay Gannon? Chargrill burgers? I honestly don’t think that will happen.

  6. ncsubraveheartman 08/04/2013 at 10:34 PM #

    Wait, is Lorenzo Charles joining the staff?

Leave a Reply