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Mack Brown calls out ‘classless’ postgame comments by NC State head coach after rivalry game

North Carolina head coach Mack Brown fired back at North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren on Wednesday, nearly a month after Doeren’s postgame comments caused a stir. 

After NC State defeated the Tar Heels to end the regular season, ACC Network cameras caught Doeren speaking to his team in the locker room. 

Head coach Dave Doeren of the NC State Wolfpack reacts following a play during the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Carter-Finley Stadium on Nov. 4, 2023 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Lance King/Getty Images)

“It’s been 1,460 days since those pieces of s— beat us,” Doeren told his team, per ESPN.

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Without mentioning Doeren by name, Brown expressed disappointment in his comments. 

“The last ballgame, with a rival school, after the game the head coach of that school called our players pieces of s—,” Brown said Wednesday. “I apologize for that language but I’ve never heard something like that before. I’m disappointed. I thought it was classless. It’s not true. 

“We didn’t play well in the game. We didn’t coach well in the game. It’s been very well-documented, and I got that, but you don’t call kids a piece of s—. And I’ve addressed it with our team. I apologized to them. These kids are one of the top academic groups in America. They got an award for AFCA’s top 13. They’ve won a Coastal Division. They’ve won a bunch of games. They’ve been to an Orange Bowl, been to five straight bowls. They represent us well, and from me speaking for them and their parents, they really didn’t appreciate being called a piece of s—. Never heard that before and very, very disappointing.” 

Mack Brown before playing Georgia Tech

North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown prior to the start of the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Oct. 28, 2023, at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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North Carolina State’s 39-20 victory over North Carolina was the third straight in the in-state rivalry for the Wolfpack. 

Doeren responded to Brown’s comments on Wednesday, telling reporters that he called Brown to apologize and was unaware that cameras were in the locker room. 

“First of all, when we go to these meetings, we’re supposed to get notice that there’s a camera in our locker room,” Doeren said. “And that was not done. I have a lot of regret that that was on TV because it shouldn’t have been. When you go into the locker room with your team, that is a private conversation. Unless they ask if they can be in there with the camera. And that was not asked. 

Mack Brown and Dave Doeren talk

Head coach Mack Brown of the Tar Heels talks with head coach Dave Doeren of the Wolfpack prior to the game at Carter-Finley Stadium on Nov. 25, 2023, in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Lance King/Getty Images)

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“Obviously, if I knew I was on camera my language would not have been what it was,” he said. “Does it make it any better? No. And I did call coach and apologize because I could have used a lot of different words. Caught me in the heat of the moment situation in the locker room celebrating a huge win. And I was fired up about how we played. I have respect for coach so the last thing I wanted was for him to feel that.”

The Tar Heels face West Virginia Mountaineers in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl while NC State will square off in the Pop-Tarts Bowl against No. 25 Kansas State.

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