'A special man': Former N.C. State football coach Dick Sheridan dies at 81

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Friday, July 7, 2023
Former NC State coach Dick Sheridan dies
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Former NC State coach Dick Sheridan has died at 81.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Dick Sheridan, who turned around the North Carolina State football program while leading the Wolfpack to six bowl appearances in seven seasons as their coach, died Thursday, the university said. He was 81.

Sheridan died at Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, near his Garden City Beach home. No cause of death was given.

Sheridan coached the Wolfpack from 1986 to 1992. N.C. State hired him from Furman, where he built a Division I-AA powerhouse and beat the Pack twice while there.

"I have such great respect for coach Sheridan and am saddened to hear this news," Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said. "He did so much to build the football program at N.C. State and impacted many players, coaches and staff during his time as coach. I enjoyed getting to know him during my time here."

He came to N.C. State and immediately turned the program around, going 8-3-1 overall and 5-2 in the ACC in his first season, guiding the Wolfpack to a Peach Bowl appearance. The Wolfpack were coming off three straight 3-8 seasons before Sheridan took over.

N.C. State went 4-7 in 1987 but did not have another losing season under Sheridan, winning the Peach Bowl in 1988 and winning nine games in both 1991 and '92.

His record at NC State was 52-29-3 in seven seasons with six bowl-game appearances. The Wolfpack finished in the Top 25 three times during his tenure.

One of the Wolfpack football team's first acts under Sheridan was adopting the "diamond" logo that he used at Furman. Sheridan became especially beloved by Wolfpack fans for his success against rival North Carolina. The Wolfpack beat the Tar Heels in six of Sheridan's seven seasons.

Sheridan stepped away from the team in June 1993 at the age of 51, citing health issues and saying the recent death of his friend, Wolfpack basketball coach Jim Valvano, influenced his decision. He never coached again.

"He was just a remarkable coach," said Mike O'Cain, who played for Sheridan in high school and succeeded him as the Wolfpack's coach. "He believed in his role as a strict disciplinarian and he was a perfectionist. We would practice a play 150 times a week."

Sheridan won the Bobby Dodd College Football Coach of the Year award in his first season at N.C. State and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2020.

The Augusta, Georgia, native began his college coaching tenure at Furman in 1978, leading the Paladins to the Division I-AA (now Football Championship Subdivision) title game in 1985.

"He was such a special man, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Sheridan family," said Furman coach Clay Hendrix, who played for Sheridan's Paladins.

After his retirement from coaching, Sheridan owned several sporting goods stores and worked in real estate in the Myrtle Beach area.

The Associated Press contributed.