Coach Clawson is now approaching the one-month mark in his new job as the head football coach for Wake Forest. A whirlwind of recruiting, travel, media events and meetings have dominated his time since his arrival. Despite his busy schedule, Coach Clawson and I have had a chance to speak on several occasions, and I have come away with a few first impressions.
His cerebral approach is evident from my initial impression at his introductory press conference. One of the questions posed by a fan during the question and answer session was “What is your golf handicap?” Coach Clawson declined to answer; his reason being, “If I answer and it is too high then no one will invite me to play, and if it is too low then you will think I am not a hard worker.” This is a simple example of a response from a man who measures twice and cuts once. Despite this response, I did recently get the answer out of him and his handicap is in the respectable 16-18 range.
Another thing I have noted about Coach Clawson in the brief period he has been at Wake Forest is an infectious energy about him. The energy that he exudes is almost a wave of adrenaline, but in a focused way with a well thought out plan in hand – a plan that he has obviously perfected at previous stops before arriving at Wake. The priorities for this plan include the following:
- Developing relationships with current players
- Holding together a recruiting class based on a detailed analysis of our current team and position needs
- Assembling a coaching staff
- Engaging with students, former players, fans and donors
I have been working with Coach on some of his recruiting efforts. Facing a small window to visit a large number of recruits, I was able to call on some of our generous donors to provide private plane access to Coach Clawson, allowing him to see the most recruits in the shortest amount of time.
The second day on the job, Coach Clawson lost no time getting on the road and in front of recruits. This travel came after pulling an all-nighter reviewing film of current recruits to determine if they were an appropriate fit for his system. The detailed plan of visits was well choreographed, but also required a work ethic of someone willing to work into the wee hours of the night. Coach Clawson ultimately plans to completely overhaul our recruiting efforts by implementing some systems he gleaned while at Tennessee, and I am excited to see us progress in this area.
The other area I have been involved with is helping Coach connect with former players, fans and students. The night of Coach Clawson’s press conference, he certainly made a big impression by delivering doughnuts to students who were studying in the library preparing for finals. To connect with former student-athletes, we recently held a conference call with former football players who are helping plan a revamped player reunion centered around the Spring Game. Fresh ideas emerged from the call, including the idea to implement a network of former players across a spectrum of careers. This network would help provide guidance to our student-athletes in their professional careers, beyond football. Former players were appreciative of the call and excited about the chance to connect with Coach Clawson so soon after his hire.
While coach is focused on his priorities on the field, our staff in the Deacon Club is committed to providing him with the facilities that will help complement Coach’s efforts and assist in recruiting and the development of our players.
The number one facility priority for football and the entire athletic department is a new Sports Performance Center. This building will include a new weight training facility, nutrition center and programming, coaches’ offices and player areas. While plans are still being finalized we are actively fundraising for this game-changing initiative.
Our goal is to provide Coach his first win by delivering this facility in the very near future. This will take an “all in” approach from everyone to do his or her part and come together as one in this effort. Be on the lookout for more to come on this exciting facility that will change how we train all of our student-athletes to compete at the highest level. I look forward to discussions with you about how we can come together to provide Coach his first win.