Illinois Football has been through three head coaches in the last nine years - all losing seasons. In an effort to correct course, the Illini went out and hired former Wisconsin and Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema.
There’s a connection there to NC State Football: Dave Doeren was on Bielema’s Wisconsin staff from 2006-2010, serving as co-Defensive Coordinator, Recruiting Coordinator, and Linebackers Coach the first two years, and Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach the last three. Doeren used that experience to jump into his first head coaching gig at Northern Illinois, which he then turned into the head role with the Wolfpack.
Bielema and Doeren have remained friends since, with Bielema even helping to direct one-time Arkansas commit and former NC State quarterback Ty Evans towards the Wolfpack after Bielema was fired by the Razorbacks.
That relationship may be getting tested...
Sources: Bret Bielema seeking to hire assistant away from NC State staff https://t.co/Wd1E2TIlyE— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) January 20, 2021
If Bielema is successful in luring away McDonald from NC State, that will be a significant loss for the Wolfpack. Not only has McDonald been key in the development of Wolfpack wideouts such as Kelvin Harmon, Jakobi Meyers, and Emeka Emezie, he’s also a key recruiter for the program.
In the 2021 class, McDonald was the primary recruiter on four of 20 signees, and the secondary recruiter on an additional two. McDonald’s key recruiting ground is the Charlotte area, while he also has responsibility for Broward County, Florida, and South New Jersey.
McDonald was a member of Bret Bielema’s initial staff at Arkansas in 2013 as the WR Coach, although he left after just a month on the job to become Syracuse’s Offensive Coordinator. He held the Syracuse OC job for two years before coming to NC State as the WR Coach in 2015. McDonald was the co-OC for NC State for the 2019 season.
McDonald is originally from Indiana and played high school football in California before attending Illinois where he played wide receiver and returned kickoffs.