Dick Sheridan, NCSU coaching legend, dies

The former Wolfpack football coach was 81

Former NC State coach Dick Sheridan, pictured in 2013, died last week at age 81. (David Tulis / AP Photo)

RALEIGH — Dick Sheridan, the legendary NC State football coach who led the Wolfpack to six bowl appearances in seven seasons and has the second-most wins in program history, died last Thursday, the university said. He was 81.

Sheridan died near his home in Garden City Beach, South Carolina, after a brief illness, the school said, citing his family.

Sheridan, who never played college football, took over at NC State in 1986 after a successful run at Furman. The Wolfpack were coming off three straight 3-8 seasons but went 8-3-1 in Sheridan’s first year, earning a Peach Bowl berth for the school. Sheridan also received both the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year and ACC Coach of the Year awards that season.

NC 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. Sheridan resigned in the summer before the 1993 season, citing health reasons. He went 52-29-3 with the Wolfpack and never coached again.

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

At NC State, Sheridan coached four All-America selections and 31 all-conference players.

He coached at Furman from 1978-85, going 69-23-1 and winning eight Southern Conference championships. He made an impression in Raleigh by beating the Wolfpack twice in his final three years.

“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.”

At Furman, Sheridan coached eight first-team All-America selections and 75 all-conference players, and his 74.4% winning percentage remains the best in school history.

Sheridan is also famously known for designing the iconic big diamond logos at both schools. As an assistant with Furman, Sheridan designed the “Diamond F” logo in 1973, and when he became the Wolfpack’s head coach in 1986, he brought his design with him. NC State would utilize the Sheridan diamond from 1986-98 while Furman went on to incorporate the “Diamond F” as the logo for their entire athletic department.

“Today is an incredibly sad day for me personally, as well as for so many others, to hear of the passing of revered Coach Dick Sheridan,” said Furman football coach Clay Hendrix, who played for Sheridan at Furman from 1982-85 and later coached under him at NC State, in an official statement put out by the university. “The lessons he taught and example he set for so many still resonate with us all. I can assure you there are a bunch of older guys like me with incredibly heavy hearts today. The class, integrity, care for his players, and competitiveness he always displayed will forever be part of those who knew him. What he accomplished at Furman was nothing short of remarkable. The impact he made on so many young men will last for years to come. He was such a special man, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Sheridan family.”

After he retired from coaching, Sheridan owned several sporting goods stores and worked in real estate in the Myrtle Beach area. He was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2020. Sheridan was the first player or coach from Furman to enter the CFHOF.

“Dick Sheridan earned the respect of the coaching profession with an unparalleled dedication to perfection, which translated into him winning nearly 70 percent of his games as a head coach,” said National Football Foundation Chairman Archie Manning. “It is fitting that he received our sport’s greatest honor, becoming a member of the College Football Hall of Fame in 2020. We are deeply saddened by his passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and the many players and the coaches he mentored throughout his remarkable career.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.