Niagara Gazette

Sports

December 11, 2013

Youngstown native Clawson ready to rebuild Wake Forest

Niagara Gazette — WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Youngstown native Dave Clawson seems like a natural fit for Wake Forest.

Clawson is known as a program-builder — and after five straight losing seasons, the Demon Deacons sure could use a few tweaks.

Clawson earlier this week called it "truly a dream come true" to be introduced as Wake Forest's coach.

"We have a winner," athletic director Ron Wellman said of the 46-year-old Clawson, who led turnarounds at Fordham, Richmond and, most recently, Bowling Green.

Now he faces another one at Wake Forest.

"It all begins with getting the right people on board," Clawson said. "It's having a shared vision of what you want the program to look like. It's getting players to buy into the commitment level it takes to become a good football team.

"It's not, 'snap the fingers' and it happens," he added. "You have to have players that buy into every aspect of the program."

His hiring caps a weeklong search for Jim Grobe's replacement. Grobe stepped down Dec. 2 after a 13-year stay that included the best three-year run in school history.

Clawson called Wake Forest "a special place" and says when the job came open last week, he hoped to be considered for it.

"Certainly in building the program at Richmond (in the mid-2000s), one of the people I stole from was coach Grobe," Clawson said.

"He proved that Wake Forest can win at a very high level in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He did it with class. He did it with dignity. ... Replacing a man of his stature is a responsibility I don't take lightly."

But the past five years have been mostly lean ones for the Demon Deacons, who have reached the postseason only once since reaching three straight bowl games from 2006-08.

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