Dave Clawson - Hot Seat to Hot Commodity

Tackling the ridiculous notion that Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson was on the hot seat at the start of this season.

What a difference four little wins makes.

Just three months ago, even before Wake football fall camp had started, a pair of writers put Demon Deacon coach Dave Clawson on their “coaching hot seat.”

It was ludicrous then, it’s ludicrous now, and it would even be ludicrous if the Deacs were sitting at 2-2.

But now that the Deacs have moved to 4-0 for the first time since 2006, it’s become pretty laughable. In fact, there have been tweets linking Clawson to openings and potential openings at both LSU and Notre Dame this week.

In just one month, Clawson has gone from hot seat to hot commodity.

Matt Zemek, writer for Today’s U Sports which is a part of internet upstart Fan Rag Sports, placed Clawson atop his ACC hot seat rankings based solely upon looking at scores and stats.

Clawson’s reputation as a program builder didn’t enter into the equation — Zemek was likely clueless that Clawson’s clubs usually showed significant advances in years three and four.

Recruiting rankings surely didn’t factor, as the Deacs have brought in back-to-back all-time program best classes.

Heck, there’s no doubt Zemek failed to factor in the returning experience for Wake, who brought back more than 90 percent of its offense — they may not have been great last season, but it was an improved unit and the experienced gained by those young players has already proved to be invaluable.

Facility upgrades? Probably not accomplished without the vision and work ethic of coach Clawson. The administration and boosters have put money in McCreary Field House under the assumption Clawson would be the leader of this program. There’s little to suggest they were ready for a change this quickly.

Did Zemek take into account the woeful shape of the program when Clawson took over? Strength and speed numbers were dreadful, and the team literally lacked both running backs and quarterbacks when Clawson came to town. The offensive line? Borderline offensive. Those things can’t be built overnight. It takes several years to recruit, develop, and help those guys get bigger and stronger.

Given all these various indicators, is there any reason to believe coach Clawson would potentially not be retained to begin his fourth year at the helm? In a word, no.

Barring an unforeseen 0-12 performance, or an even MORE unforeseen off-the-field situation, there was a ZERO percent chance Clawson was on the hot seat.

I told Zemek all this in a series of tweets on June 24, and I reminded him about in Sunday morning as Wake fans basked in the 4-0 glow.

All that being said, I completely understand Zemek’s plight. He’s on the West Coast just trying to make a living writing about sports. With all the downsizing of the newspaper business, it’s not always easy.

There was a brief time last fall that I tinkered with the notion of writing for a couple sites on the side to try to make ends meet. One of them, believe it or not, was Fan Rag Sports.

But I honestly couldn’t write about the wide-ranging topics and continue to focus on the Deacs with the ferocity I prefer, so I quickly discarded the notion.

I’m glad I did.

I wouldn’t be qualified to intelligently write about the top four coaches on the Pac 12 hot seat, nor would I be qualified to write about the top seven NFL-caliber cornerbacks in the SEC.

But I know a little bit about Wake Forest athletics, and I’m learning more every day.

And with that knowledge I assert that Clawson isn’t on the hot seat now, nor was he ever.


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