Skip to main content
Publish date:

Dave Doeren's letter to his sons is the perfect Father's Day read

Father's Day is Sunday, and Dave Doeren has reversed the holiday tradition by providing a gift to his sons.

The NC State head coach has penned a letter to sons Jacob, Luke and Connor about why he does that he does and what it means to him to be their dad. The most enlightening portion comes when Doeren explains what he originally wanted to do with his life and why he switched to coaching.

He writes:

As you know, I always have a plan. I’ve been that way since I was younger than you guys are now. My plan was to be a doctor. I always knew that I wanted to have a job that I loved and since I loved science and I loved sports and I wanted to help people, it seemed like the perfect career. To me, being an orthopedic surgeon tied it all together.

So that was it. That was the plan. I would play football, get my degree from Drake and go to med school.

I was on my way to checking all of those things off my list but then something interesting happened.

After my junior year, I needed to have both of my knees scoped. I was so into my plan to be a doctor that I sat up and watched the surgery. But as I went through the rehab process, I started to notice that my doctor didn’t really have much time to talk when I went in for follow-ups. He was a great doctor, but he really didn’t seem to have a relationship with his patients.

I asked him about that and he told me that the way the medical field works now, you can’t really develop relationships with your patients any more.

THAT wasn’t part of the plan. I realized that even though as a doctor, I would be helping people physically, I wouldn’t be involved in their lives emotionally.

You see, I could’ve been a good doctor. Maybe even a great doctor. But I didn’t feel the passion about it. There wasn’t a fire in my belly about medicine.

There was one about coaching football.

There still is.

That's when my plan took a turn - a pretty drastic one. That same summer, I started coaching seven on seven. When I coached, I could see people grow. I could get to know them and make an impact on their lives. THAT’S what I wanted.

People of faith would describe Doeren's injury and the subsequent conversation with his doctor as "a God thing" -- a twist of fate so meaningful it must have been arranged by a higher power.

That change of heart impacted thousands of people over the two decades and counting that have followed.

Doeren's advice to his sons is to find a life calling and a life partner they can commit themselves to fully, and then dive in without looking back.

Whatever you do, boys, make sure you love it. Make sure that when you get up in the morning, you’re fired up about the job you’ve chosen.

Find a calling, not a job, and you’ll never be sorry.

For one of you, it might be teaching. Or sales. Or accounting. (Connor, I think you would be a pretty awesome stand-up comedian!)

Maybe one of you will end up being a doctor ... or a coach.

But whatever you do, find something that you can put your whole heart into. Something that you love.

The full letter is a great read, including some priceless pics of Doeren throughout his life & coaching career.