In one of his first appearances since stepping down after 13 seasons at the helm of the Wake Forest football program, Jim Grobe joined The David Glenn Show on Thursday to talk about his time in Winston-Salem, and about what the future might hold for a self-described “old hillbilly from West Virginia.”
Although most of the conversation involved Grobe reflecting on and praising the school, players, coaches, staff and fans who supported him in his time as coach, Grobe did share some insightful thoughts about his perception of a culture shift at Wake Forest, not just within the athletic department, but as a school.
“I think the biggest issue became trying to keep your identity as a top academic school,” Grobe said on the show. “Being the smallest school in the BCS has its challenges. When we went to the Orange Bowl in 2006 it got everybody on point. All of our competitors said ‘hey, if Wake Forest can do it, we can do it.'”
Grobe did not specifically mention a shift in expectations as being a cause for his resignation, but hearing him describe a changing culture leads to a conclusion that it must have been a factor.
“When we went to Wake Forest, no one thought we could win,” Grobe said.
“Most of my buddies thought that it was not a not a good job for me to take. They were afraid I wasn’t going to make 5 years, let alone 13 years. So when we first went to Wake Forest, no one thought we could win. Then about half way through everybody realized we could win. Then over the past two or three years, a different thing has developed. It was almost a deal where you were expected to win and I’m not sure that is Wake Forest.”
IT’S REALLY HARD TO GO FROM ‘WE CAN’T WIN’ TO ‘WE CAN WIN’ TO ‘WE SHOULD WIN’ BECAUSE THAT ‘SHOULD WIN’ TAG IS PROBABLY NOT SOMETHING THAT WAKE WILL EVER BE.
Upon being asked, Grobe said he has not been contacted by incoming Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson, though Grobe did say he is hoping to secure jobs for some of his former assistants on Coach Clawson’s staff at Wake. Grobe also mentioned he was sharing some of his thoughts with Clawson in mind.
“You know I’m trying to help Coach Clawson, I think that at Wake Forest, if you’re going to continue to be Wake Forest and primarily be thought of as an academic school, it’s really hard to go from ‘we can’t win’ to ‘we can win’ to ‘we should win’ because that ‘should win’ tag is probably not something that Wake will ever be.”
Throughout the interview, Grobe referred to being disappointed with how things finished at Wake Forest and the recognition that his teams had not won enough games recently.
To hear Coach Grobe’s complete thoughts and the full interview, please click the player below: