New Wake coach Clawson praises predecessor

Dave Clawson, the new football coach at Wake Forest, will try to emulate his predecessor.

During his introductory news conference in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Tuesday, the former Bowling Green coach cited departed Demon Deacons coach Jim Grobe as an influence on his career.

"Certainly in building the program at Richmond (a decade ago), one of the people I stole from was Coach Grobe," Clawson said. "He proved the Wake Forest could win at a high level in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Like Coach Grobe I hope I can make Wake Forest University, the students, and the faculty very proud of Wake Forest football. ...

"He did it with class. He did it with dignity. ... Replacing a man of his stature is a responsibility I don't take lightly."

Clawson, 46, switches schools fresh off a personal success. He led Bowling Green (10-3) to an upset of then-No. 18 Northern Illinois in the Mid-American Conference championship game on Friday night. The Falcons will play Pittsburgh in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Clawson's hiring capped Wake Forest's weeklong search to find Grobe's successor. Grobe resigned Dec. 2 after a 4-8 season in 2013 and a 13-year stay that included five bowl games, but ended with five straight losing seasons. Grobe's record at Wake Forest was 77-82.

"We are very pleased to have Dave Clawson leading our football program," Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman said in an official statement. "Dave is a proven winner and leader and has had great success at every institution he has coached. Dave has rebuilt every program that he has coached and has led each institution to a conference championship. He has developed a national reputation as a builder of programs.

"Dave's expectations for our program and players are extremely high. We have much to look forward to with his leadership of our program."

Before arriving at Bowling Green, Clawson was the head coach at Fordham, Richmond and offensive coordinator at Tennessee for one season (2008). Clawson had a 32-31 record at Bowling Green, with two previous bowl appearances (2009, 2012) and 18 wins in the last two seasons.

Clawson said of Wake Forest, "Our vision is to win championships here. I think if you set your goal anything lower than being a champion, then you're setting the standard too low. ...

"We know it's going to take a lot of work. We have to get the right people on board."

Bowling Green announced that tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Adam Scheier will serve as its interim head coach for the bowl game.