“I’m really excited to be able to retain Des Kitchings,” said Doeren. “I’ve gotten to know him in the last 10 days and am really impressed with his work ethic, his attitude and the way he works with the players. The players have had nothing but great things to say about him as a teacher and a motivator.
“On the recruiting trail, I’ve been impressed with how he relates to the high school coaches. He has an impressive coaching background and the coaches he worked with at Air Force and Vanderbilt had great things to say about him. It’s also good to have a South Carolina native on our staff to help us with recruiting in that area.”
In his first season at NC State, Kitchings coached both running backs and tight ends. Under his guidance, freshman Shadrach Thornton finished the regular season ranked fifth in the ACC in rushing, despite not playing in the Pack’s first three games. Thornton finished the year with three straight 100+ yard rushing performances, becoming the first Pack player to do so since 2002.
“I am appreciative for the opportunity to be a part of Coach Doeren’s staff,” said Kitchings. “My family and I look forward to what is going to be an exciting future for Wolfpack football.”
Prior to coming to Raleigh, Kitchings spent the 2011 campaign as the running game coordinator/running backs coach at the Air Force Academy. Air Force ranked third nationally in rushing that season, averaging 314.8 yard per game. The Falcons also finished third nationally with 43 rushing touchdowns.
Prior to his year at Air Force, Kitchings was the running backs coach at Vanderbilt from 2008-10, also serving as offensive coordinator in 2010. He was the program’s running game coordinator and co-special teams coordinator while on the Commodores’ staff.
In 2009, Kitchings coached true freshman tailback Warren Norman who produced one of the finest all-purpose campaigns ever by an SEC freshman. He ended the season as the SEC Freshman of the Year and a freshman All-American.
Prior to his time at Vanderbilt, Kitchings coached tight ends and was the special teams coordinator at his alma mater, Furman, from 2004-07. During his tenure at Furman, three of his players earned all-conference recognition, the Paladins posted a 10-3 record and captured a conference title in 2004, and advanced to the NCAA I-AA national semifinals in 2005.
A standout receiver/return specialist, the Wagener, S.C., native helped Furman win the Southern Conference championship as a senior in 1999 and he ranks among the school’s all-time leaders in receptions and returns. As a specialist, he averaged 29.3 yards on 33 kickoff returns - the second-best mark in SoCon history. He scored touchdowns on four kickoff returns, also a school record.
A consensus All-Southern Conference selection as both a receiver and returner, Kitchings earned All-America honors as a return specialist in 1999 after leading NCAA Division I-AA division in return average. He became the youngest inductee into the Furman Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.
Kitchings earned his B.S. in health and exercise science from Furman in 2000. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs that year and spent four years on practice squads and rosters of NFL teams. He and his wife, Heather, have three children.
“I’m happy that Des, his wife Heather, his sons Aiden and Austen and his daughter Ava will continue to be a part of the Wolfpack family,” Doeren continued.