Jim Grobe led the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to a rather impressive 11-3 record and the program’s only Orange Bowl berth. That was the best year in the history of Wake Forest football. His teams followed up that season with a 9-4 season and then 8-5 and it was back to the standard.
Grobe was the head guy at Wake Forest for 13 seasons and he finished with a losing record. That has been the norm there.
No coach in my lifetime has completed his time as a coach at Wake Forest with a winning record.
They are the ACC’s version of Vanderbilt, but at least Vanderbilt had James Franklin, who in 3 seasons took the Commodores to 3 bowl games and had a 24-15 record.
Nobody has been able to win at Wake Forest and what exactly is a Demon Deacon?
Will current head coach, Dave Clawson, be any different? Does he know what a Demon Deacon is?
Clawson began his head coaching career at Division 1AA Fordham in 1999 and things did not go well for him. His first team finished up 0-11. His second team was only slightly better with a 3-8 record.
But, then, things started to come together and his 2001 team at Fordham went 7-4. It would get even better with his 2002 team that finished up 10-3 and they made it to the Quarterfinals of the Division 1AA playoffs.
His last season at Fordham was a 9-3 finish to even up his record at 29-29.
He was hired away from Fordham by Richmond and his first team there was not great with a 3-8 finish. But, they got better really quickly and in 2005 the Richmond Spiders made a miraculous recovery and made a run in the playoffs losing in the quarterfinals. They finished with a 9-4 record.
They dipped a little to 6-5 before going on another run and finishing 11-3 and losing in the semi finals.
Tennessee hired Clawson as their Offensive Coordinator before the 2008 season. Maybe Clawson thought he could better get a Division 1 head job as the Coordinator at Tennessee, or he just didn’t like being a Spider.
But, he totally bombed at Tennessee and as Coordinator of their Offense it was the Volunteers’ worse in decades. Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer was fired and new coach Lane Kiffin let Clawson go.
Clawson was not dominating at Bowling Green with an overall 32-30 record, but he finished up strong
with a 10-3 record and he gained the attention of Wake Forest.
The 2014 and 2015 seasons were the exact records with an unimpressive 3-9. Same old same old at Wake Forest.
But, 2016 has been different for Dave Clawson and Wake Forest.
Most of it has been defense with the Demon Deacons getting off to a 4-0 start. They beat Tulane, Duke, Delaware and Indiana to start off. Say what you will about the competition, but Duke and Indiana are better than most people think.
Their first loss was to North Carolina State, who is also better than most people think after tehy lost a puzzling game to East Carolina. They beat Syracuse easily to improve to 5-1 and they limited a potent offense to only 9 points.
This past weekend, they lost to Florida State. This game was not exactly like taking candy away from babies for the Seminoles with Florida State getting a tough fought win, 17-6.
remaining and they have 2 very difficult games remaining with Louisville and Clemson.
It’s very possible that Dave Clawson, in his third season at Wake Forest, could coach his team to an 8-4 regular season. It could be better, or it could be worse, but they only need one more win to at least qualify for a bowl game.
A bowl game for Wake Forest is kind of a big deal.
Dave Clawson is 49 years old and he has a shot at doing something at Wake Forest that nobody else has been able to do. Build a consistent winner at Wake Forest. He is in his third season and he might have a long way to go if he’s not hired away by a bigger program.
Taking the Demon Deacons to a bowl game this year is a great start.