“I just really feel right now, it’s probably good for the program to have some new energy, some new direction,” Grobe said Monday during a news conference.
The 61-year-old Grobe has a career record of 110-115-1 in a combined 19 years at Wake Forest and Ohio.
He was 77-82 with the Demon Deacons and shares the program record for coaching victories with D.C. “Peahead” Walker.
Grobe said he told athletic director Ron Wellman during a meeting Monday morning that he was resigning. The coach said nobody tried to talk him out of his decision.
“This is a sad day for Wake Forest football,” Wellman said.
The unquestioned highlight of Grobe’s career came in 2006. He was named the AP national coach of the year after leading Wake Forest to its first Atlantic Coast Conference championship since 1970, winning a school-record 11 victories and earning a berth in the Orange Bowl.
That was the second of his five bowl games with the school, and the first of three straight from 2006-08 – the only time the Demon Deacons have reached the postseason in three consecutive years.
But it was tough to sustain that level of success at a school that has the smallest enrollment of any member of one of the six major BCS conferences.
The Demon Deacons capped off their fifth straight losing season last weekend with a 23-21 defeat at Vanderbilt. Wake Forest ended the season 4-8, including five losses in a row.
Wake Forest finished 113th or worse nationally in four of the five main offensive stat categories, and its offense effectively disappeared once receiver Michael Campanaro broke his collarbone in a loss at Syracuse on Nov. 2.
The Demon Deacons managed just one touchdown in a span of 10 quarters coinciding with that injury, and those offensive struggles undercut a defense that held nine of 12 opponents to 24 or fewer points.
In what turned out to be Grobe’s final home game, Wake Forest gave No. 20 Duke a scare before losing 28-21.
Grobe’s successor faces a tough challenge because most of the key players from this year’s team – including quarterback Tanner Price, running back Josh Harris, nose tackle Nikita Whitlock and Campanaro – were seniors.