Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe resigned Monday following a 4-8 season during his 14th and final campaign on the Demon Deacons’ sideline.
Grobe, the 2006 Associated Press Coach of the Year, led Wake Forest to its second ACC championship ever. He also finished tied as the program’s all-time wins leader.
However, Grobe only rarely kept Wake’s head above ACC obscurity, finishing under .500 in league play in nine of 14 seasons.
Whoever inherits the Wake Forest job will see up close just how many challenges Grobe faced in Winston-Salem. The university has the lowest enrollment (fewer than 5,000 undergraduate students) among those in major BCS conferences.
However, the timing is perfect for Wake Forest – which nobody will mistake for an elite BCS conference job.
Early indications are that this will be an especially light coaching carousel season. That could especially be the case for BCS programs on the East Coast.
UConn is already open but no SEC teams seem likely to make coaching changes unless someone unexpectedly leaves. No other ACC program appears headed for a new leader, either.
In other words, Wake Forest – which would normally be a low-priority destination – has a legitimate shot to metaphorically outkick its coverage.
Grobe’s tenure ended on an incredibly short list among the program’s most successful coaches.
Winning at Wake Forest will never be easy. Perhaps this is the best chance for the program to attract a coach who can at least continue Grobe’s tradition of overachievement.
The Demon Deacons will be fortunate, however, to find a coach with Grobe’s loyalty.
Grobe turned down the Arkansas job to stay at Wake Forest. It turned out to be a regrettable decision in terms of competitive success.
Unless Wake Forest makes a great commitment to football, it will be fortunate to be a stepping-stone job for coaches searching for a similar break.