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Jim Grobe regrets passing on Nebraska, still wants to coach

Jim Grobe

Jim Grobe was once the hottest name in college football coaching circles after the 2006 season. Grobe just led the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to an improbable Orange Bowl berth. Multiple teams were interested in Grobe’s services. The Nebraska Cornuskers were the most notable suitor. Instead of pursuing the possibility of coaching for one of the country’s most prestigious programs, Grobe decided he wanted to continue at Wake Forest.

It’s a decision Grobe regrets today.

“I do now, I didn’t at the time,” Grobe told’s Jon Solomon. “I honestly took great pride in Wake Forest. I had some really good friends there. I trusted some people there. I thought Wake was a little different than other schools. I really, at the time, felt we were going to get a bigger commitment in terms of facilities and support for the program that never really materialized. We loved all 13 years we were in Winston-Salem, but I’m not real happy with the way things ended.”

Grobe resigned from Wake Forest last year after the team finished below .500 for the fifth-straight season.

The coach’s success in 2006 eventually led to his demise seven years later. Wake Forest was in the national spotlight for a short period of time. The Demon Deacons had caught the attention of talented recruits, and the program pursued them. Yet, Grobe overlooked some of the things that made him successful to that point. Grobe was known for redshirting every recruit in order to develop them over a five-year period.

“We kind of got away from that dynamic and started recruiting a little bit better player who probably doesn’t have a good enough love for the game,” Grobe said. “Quite frankly, I ended up spending a lot of time last year with five knotheads who were always missing class, missing study hall, missing tutoring, late to meetings, late to practices, and ultimately I just wouldn’t play them. They were very talented kids who could have helped us win games. There’s no question I could have done a better job.”

At 62 years of age, Grobe has learned from his mistakes and still has the fire to coach at the collegiate level.

“It’s funny to be here talking football, but I don’t feel that same electricity,” Grobe said. “It’s a good thing — right now.”

There will undoubtedly be a handful of openings at programs with coaches already on the hot seat. And Grobe will be ready to take over at one of those spots.

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10 Responses to “Jim Grobe regrets passing on Nebraska, still wants to coach”
  1. bender4700 says: Aug 15, 2014 9:20 PM

    I’m glad he didn’t pursue it, not sure it would have mattered.

  2. jimmy53 says: Aug 15, 2014 9:26 PM

    Wake Forest should never have gotten rid of him—they’ll never do better with their low level of commitment to the program.

  3. coolhorn46 says: Aug 15, 2014 9:36 PM

    Jim Grobe is a fine football coach, and some team out there is gonna land on their feet by signing him. I’d love to see what he could do with a higher profile team than Wake.

  4. derekgorgonstar says: Aug 16, 2014 12:35 AM

    Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl was amazing. You have to really grind as a coach to pull that off, a truly impressive job by Grobe.

    Unless I’m wrong, I think he was also in play for the Alabama job at one point.

  5. atmason says: Aug 16, 2014 2:12 AM

    Grobe is a great coach! If he could win at Wake, he’ll win anywhere. Hope Nebraska calls up when Bo is fired.

  6. whenwilliteverend says: Aug 16, 2014 10:52 AM

    I think some of his comments were very interesting. For example, he recruited some chuckleheads who didn’t really care about the game. I’m sure they were thinking they were big stars just waiting to get to the NFL. I wonder if they ever made it…probably not. It reminds me of some other over-achieving programs like Princeton in basketball. They didn’t have anyone that the power schools even recruited but they had five guys who knew how to play and played as a team and as a result, they were very tough to beat. I think that’s what Grobe did at Wake. He recruited good players but not anyone the power schools really cared about. Then he developed those players into a really good team. In my opinion, his greatest asset was developing those players nobody else even gave a second thought and turned them into really good players. Maybe they didn’t get to the NFL but they probably ended up being a lot better than they would have with another coach.

  7. squackduckhawk says: Aug 16, 2014 1:06 PM

    That is how Oregon got relevant in the 90’s. I am not very familiar with Grobe but he sounds like an ethical coach with courage of conviction. That kind of coach at a Pedigree school like Texas, Florida, USC, or Michigan could build a dynasty. Unfortunately for fans of college football, big schools require you to placate kids with talent at the expense of the coach’s integrity.

  8. wisbadgfan says: Aug 16, 2014 2:12 PM

    I agree that Grobe is a fine coach and will get another good opportunity to coach.

    Sometimes we deride coaches that leave as greedy and disloyal. This ultimately is a two way street and loyalty and dedication to the program must be shown by both the coach and the university.

    Some school looking for a change of direction will invest in Grobe for a five or six year fix—-and he will do a great job.

  9. cupajoe32 says: Aug 16, 2014 7:48 PM

    I think there is something missing in these comments. Grobe does well in a college that puts an emphasis on developing a complete student-athlete, with the emphasis on building character and leadership skills overtime. Most of the schools in the big 5 power conferences have gotten away from that, including Nebraska and sadly Wake Forest Grobe didnt care for athletes who skipped classes, played for a 2-3 years and left college for the pros.

    As a coach, he would probably do well in the Ivy League, where he could develop young players into leaders over 4-5 years, and put an emphasis on character and integrity. Schools like Harvard, Yale, etc would be wise to keep Grobe in mind. You dont find guys who can coach, recruit and develop young students into leaders.

  10. queenlivekillers says: Aug 16, 2014 10:17 PM

    62 is the new 42 and I would not discount an older coach who has learned from his errors.

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