Coordinators following Dave Clawson to Wake Forest

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday December 12, 2013

Dave Clawson pointed to continuity as a reason for his success at past stops, and that will continue on to Wake Forest. previously reported that Bowling Green defensive coordinator Mike Elko would be joining Clawson’s staff, and offense coordinator Warren Ruggiero will as well, according to WTOL, though nothing has been officially announced.

Clawson recently participated in a fan Q&A, and one asked about the possibility of his coaches following him from Bowling Green.

“I certainly hope so,” Clawson said. “One of the reasons we were successful at Bowling Green, Richmond and Fordham is our offensive and defensive systems never changed. When a player came into the program as a first-year freshman, the terminology they learned never changed over their entire career. All three coordinators I had at Bowling Green, they never left. We were the only school in the MAC that had the same head coach, offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators for five years.

“I want them to join us. I hope they choose to join us. They’re good coaches. They may have opportunities. We’re trying to get them down here as soon as they can. When it’s appropriate to announce that, we will. The rest of the staff, we’re going to hire the best staff we can for Wake Forest University. That will involve some coaches that worked with me at Bowling Green, some that worked with me at other places. If the best coach is already at Wake Forest, we’ll consider them, too. That is an art, not a science.”

The fans touched a number of topics, including offensive and defensive styles, Clawson’s faith and more. But one popular topic was academics. A private school, Wake Forest has tough academics. At his introductory press conference, Clawson pointed to Stanford and Vanderbilt as example of what can be done. He has at least one specific way to help with players in school.

“I’ve been a head coach 14 years, so this isn’t my first rodeo,” he said. “Our players will sit in the first two rows, they won’t wear a hat, and they’ll be five minutes early. If they don’t do that, we consider them absent. There will be a consequence if they’re not there. I think you’ve got to get to the point where — I hate saying minimum standards — we want our players to excel in the classroom. I was proud, at Bowling Green, of the number of 4.0s we had. We had more than 40 or 50 3.0s.

“We don’t want guys to barely be eligible so we can keep them on the field. If we do that, we’re doing a disservice to them. There will be standards, tough love, encouragement, however you want to word it of minimums they have to do. But we want players to excel in the classroom. It’s like saying, ‘Gee, if we can just win six games and go to a bowl, we’ll be happy.’ That’s too low of a goal, too low of a standard.”

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Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to