- Wake Forest University has signed head football coach Dave Clawson to what is being described as a ‘long term contract extension’.
- Clawson is in his eighth season as Wake Forest head coach with a 49-47 record. His teams have had five winning seasons out of the last six.
- Clawson was reportedly attracting considerable interest for some of the many vacant head coaching gigs in college football.
While Louisiana Tech was parting company with a head coach that had brought some degree of consistency to the program, Wake Forest University was making sure that their head coach wasn’t going anywhere. Wake has signed head football coach Dave Clawson to what is being described as a ‘long term contract extension’. Specifics of the deal have not been announced though it is known that Clawson had made an increase in budget for hiring assistant coaches and other competitive upgrades for the program a top priority.
The transformation that Clawson has orchestrated in the Wake Forest football program is definitely remarkable. The Demon Deacons have been playing competitive intercollegiate football since 1888 but they’ve spent much of the past century mired in mediocrity. Until the past couple of decades, the football program existed deep in the shadows of Wake’s highly competitive basketball program that has produced a slew of NBA players including superstars like Tim Duncan, Chris Paul and Josh Howard. The football program began to show some life during the thirteen year run of former head coach Jim Grobe (2001–2013). Clawson not only continued to improve the program but has brought some serious consistency. The Demon Deacons will be making their sixth straight bowl appearance this season and the team has had five winning records in the last six. They were just 4-5 in the COVID-19 disrupted 2020 season but that’s a tough one to count against any coach.
A press release issued by the Wake Forest athletic department announcing the extension ran down some of Clawson’s accomplishments:
Dave Clawson is now 49-47 in his eight-year tenure with the Demon Deacons. He is one of just five head coaches in program history to have a winning record in his coaching career at Wake Forest and the first since D.C. “Peahead” Walker (77-51-6; 1937-50) to do so. Additionally, Wake Forest is 15-2 at home since the start of the 2019 season and earned a perfect 6-0 mark this season. The unblemished home record in 2021 was the Deacs first since 1979 and just the third time since Wake Forest’s 1970 ACC Championship team.
Meanwhile, six home wins ties the program record that was set in 2019. Wake Forest has won nine-straight games inside Truist Field, which marks the longest home winning streak in program history.
This past season saw a number of records fall, as the Demon Deacons earned the school’s highest Associated Press Ranking in school history (No. 10; Oct. 31, 2021) and College Football Playoff Ranking (No. 9; Oct. 31, 2021).
Including 2021, Wake Forest has only won nine games in a season three times in program history (2006, 11-3; 2007, 9-4) and the Deacs six Atlantic Coast Conference wins this fall are tied for the most league victories in program history (2006).
The #9 ranking in the CFP is particularly impressive. Given Clawson’s success at Wake Forest it was no surprise when he started getting mentioned as a serious candidate for some of the many head coaching vacancies around the country. He was reportedly right at the top of the candidate list for the vacant head coaching job at Virginia Tech.
Athletic Director John Curry had these comments about Clawson in the statement announcing his new deal:
“Dave Clawson is an elite coach, leader and program builder and we are excited to announce this reaffirmation of his long-term commitment to Wake Forest University. Our desire is for him to finish his coaching career as Wake Forest’s all-time winningest coach. Coach Clawson and his staff have brought an unprecedented amount of success to Demon Deacon football and he is truly one of the elite coaches in the country. Thanks to his leadership, our football student-athletes have experienced a school-record six-straight bowl games while continuing to raise the standard of excellence in the classroom and community.”
University President Susan R. Wente also commented:
“I commend Dave Clawson and the clear progress he has made in building strong, smart teams that compete at the highest level. While Wake Forest’s success on the field is evident, I am also so proud of the commitment Coach Clawson has to upholding our student-athletes to a high standard in the classroom and as leaders with integrity. He continues to be a leader that models excellence and collaboration for our community, and we are delighted that he will be with Wake Forest for years to come.”
Clawson is clearly happy to stay at Wake Forest:
“Catherine, Courtney, Eric and I love Wake Forest and Winston-Salem, and it’s a privilege to be the head football coach at Wake Forest University. I want to thank President Susan R. Wente, John Currie and our entire University leadership for believing in our staff and the program we have built through the incredible efforts of our entire staff and student-athletes over the past eight years. Earlier this fall, John approached me about the University’s interest in extending our relationship and furthering the long-term investment in our program and staff. Continuity of our staff has been a key factor in the success of our program and this is another key step in ensuring that we have the resources necessary to compete for championships and sustain and enhance the level of success our student-athletes have achieved on and off the field.”
“I would like to thank President Emeritus Hatch and former AD Ron Wellman for their support and belief in our staff’s vision back in December of 2013, and Dr. Wente and John for continuing that commitment to our student-athletes, community and fans to allow us to continue to build our program in areas that will make our University proud each day. Our team is excited to be headed to a program-record sixth-straight bowl game, and I look forward to working with our staff, student-athletes and recruiting more young men that will continue to elevate our program in everything we do.”
There aren’t many coaches in college football whom I respect as much as Clawson. He’s been a winner everywhere he’s coached despite never walking into a situation that wasn’t a complete mess. At Fordham, the Rams went 0-11 in his first season as head coach but were a combined 19-6 in his last two years at the school. Richmond went 3-8 in Clawson’s first season with the Spiders and 11-3 in his last season. Bowling Green went from 2-10 in 2010 to 10-3 in Clawson’s final season (2013). Wake Forest went a combined 6-18 in Clawson’s first two years but a win at Boston College tomorrow will give the Demon Deacons their second 10 win season in program history and put them in the ACC Championship Game. Wake is a -5 or -5.5 road favorite at BC with the total set at 64.5. Any program would be fortunate to have Clawson as their head coach and good for Wake Forest having the smarts to lock him up for awhile.