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 CBSSports.com’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.