Dave Clawson signs multi-year contract extension

Wake Forest head football coach agrees to a long-term deal amid historic season


Connor McNeely, Opinion Editor

Wake Forest head football coach Dave Clawson will remain with the program on a new multi-year contract extension, director of athletics John Currie announced Friday. 

Dave Clawson is an elite coach, leader and program builder and we are excited to announce this reaffirmation of his long-term commitment to Wake Forest University,” said Currie. “Our desire is for him to finish his coaching career as Wake Forest’s all-time winningest coach.”

After serving as head coach of the Bowling Green football program, Dave Clawson arrived at Wake Forest in 2013. He led the Demon Deacons to a 2016 bowl game in his third season as head football coach. Clawson has a 49-47 record in his eight year at Wake Forest, winning three bowl games and earning five consecutive appearances since 2016.

Athletics director John Currie initially approached Clawson about a long-term extension before the 2021 season. Clawson responded by producing his greatest season yet.

Wake Forest has broken multiple records amid an unprecedented 9-2 campaign. At Truist Field, the Demon Deacons are undefeated and have won nine straight games — the longest home winning streak in program history. This tally includes a close victory against No.16 NC State, which attracted a record-breaking 34,503 fans.The Demon Deacons also boast the 4th ranked scoring offense, which averages 43 points per game. This production has been a key part of Wake Forest’s emergence on the national stage. The Deacs’ No. 10 spot is the school’s highest-ever Associated Press ranking.

Clawson — whose 139 career wins rank him as the 16th winningest head coach in active Division I FBS head coaches — spoke about the importance of maintaining program staff in a Friday press release. Although the details of his extension were not disclosed, one of his priorities is a large budget for the assistant coaching staff.

Continuity of our staff has been a key factor in the success of our program and this is another key step in ensuring that we have the resources necessary to compete for championships and sustain and enhance the level of success our student-athletes have achieved on and off the field,” said Clawson.

Clawson has created a philosophy of long-term player development at Wake Forest. By instilling a value of continuity, Clawson has been able to turn three-star recruits like Sam Hartman and Jacquarii Roberson into players that are among the best in the national conversation. 

Clawson’s development of talent is even more impressive considering Wake Forest’s high admission standards and the football team’s struggles before the 2013 season.

“We can’t take lesser talent and win the race,” Clawson said in an interview with ESPN. “So we had to change the race.”

Wake Forest is certainly making strides in the race to college football excellence. The development of the football program recently hit another peak when alumnus Bob McCreary made a donation of $20 million to fund the new McCreary Football Complex — a facility that the university said will become “one of America’s best.”

Securing head coach Clawson is another step in Wake Forest’s move to becoming a top Power Five team in the years to come. Clawson’s name appeared amid the head-coaching vacancies at multiple top football programs, including Virginia Tech.

The extension arrives just before the Demon Deacons’ final regular-season game against Boston College. Wake Forest currently sits atop the ACC standings with a 6-1 record. The Deacs can claim a spot in the ACC title game with a win. Coach Clawson spoke about the matchup after the Demon Deacons’ away loss to Clemson.

“We have a championship game next week at Boston College,” said Clawson. “We will look to correct a lot of the mistakes [against Clemson] and get our team to bounce back.”