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Defensive coordinator headed to Wolfpack

After pondering over the hardest decision he’s ever made, it was Rick Kravitz’s “other” family that was the deciding factor.

Co-defensive coordinator Kravitz, the first assistant ever hired by coach Jim Leavitt in 1996 and one of three assistants who had been with the football team since it began, accepted the safeties coach job with N.C. State on Monday.

Kravitz, 51, said his fiancee, Joanne – whom he is marrying in the near future – was the reason he was moving on from a job he had for more than 10 years.

“It was another opportunity, since I’m getting married, for me and my wife,” said Kravitz, who was also a defensive coordinator at FAMU for eight years. “It was just a good combination for both of us to head up there.

“This has been a very emotional decision, and Jim has been great, as both an adviser and a mentor. I’m so proud of all the players and everything I’ve been able to accomplish.”

Incidentally, the Wolfpack is the same team that beat the Bulls 14-0 in their first bowl appearance at the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Dec. 31. Leavitt recognizes this and feels N.C. State coach Chuck Amato must have seen something he liked in his former assistant.

“I love the guy,” Leavitt said. “We’re excited about his opportunity because he’s a great friend, and I’m proud of the job he’s done.”

In Kravitz’s departure, fellow co-defensive coordinator Wally Burnham was promoted to assistant head coach and will assume the duties of defensive coordinator. Kravitz will also leave a vacancy for a secondary coaching position.

“Think about it,” Leavitt said. “How many people stay at a coaching job for 10 years and do what he did? He did a great job.”

Kravitz, whose daughter Kristen recently married Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Doug Waechter, said he really didn’t think about N.C. State being the Bulls’ last loss of the season, but just saw the opportunity ahead of him.

“I was very impressed with their facility and the people (in Raleigh),” said Kravitz, who replaces former safeties coach Manny Diaz at N.C. State. “Amato did a great job against us; I just didn’t think in the terms of who the team was when (the opportunity) presented itself.” Leavitt knows the Wolfpack was impressed.

“Well, it shows (N.C. State) likes what we did to them up there,” Leavitt said. “It’s a tribute to his coaching bill, that’s all. He’s got to take care of his wife. It’s a lot of things, but it’s good for him.”