WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.- Wake Forest head football coach Jim Grobe announced his resignation Monday afternoon during a press conference in Deacon Tower at BB&T Field. Grobe was hired in December 2000 to revive a downtrodden program that had won only 12 Atlantic Coast Conference games in the previous eight seasons. The former Ohio University coach took the Deacons to heights never before seen by Wake Forest fans, culminating in the 2006 ACC Championship and a berth in the Orange Bowl.
Director of Athletics Ron Wellman, in his remarks to the assembled media, heralded Grobe as both a friend and an ambassador, a good coach and a good man.
"When you look at his football achievements, they are impressive," Wellman said. "When you look at the man, it's even more impressive. That plays out in many different ways. It plays out in the way he treats his players and how much he loves each of them."
Grobe took multiple opportunities over the course of the press conference to reference his long-standing friendship with Wellman, the man who hired him to take over the foundering program 13 years ago. He spoke glowingly of his time at Wake Forest, saying simply that he felt the time was right for a new direction in Wake Forest football.
"I couldn't ask Wake Forest or for Ron Wellman or Dr. Hatch to treat Jim Grobe any better than they have," Grobe said. "I just really feel right now it's probably good for the program to have some new energy, some new direction. Probably good for me to have some new energy if I decide to continue coaching, you know, to have a new challenge. I just feel all the way around it's best for Wake Forest and as you know that's what I want- is great things for our kids and our program. I want things good for Wake Forest, and if somebody else is able to come in here and do that, I'll be their biggest fan."
In a release distributed by Wake Forest, the school indicated that the search for a new coach would begin immediately, although there was no set time table for making a hire. Wellman expounded on the subject following the conclusion of the press conference.
"I have no idea what this timetable is going to be", he said. "We're not going to rush into a mistake. We're going to take our time, and make sure that whoever we get is the person that we want."
In addition to indicating that he wouldn't rule out contacting coaches currently preparing for the postseason, he stated that no decision had yet been made on whether to keep any current assistants on an interim basis while the search was conducted. Further, he said that members of the current staff may have an opportunity to stay on with the program, but that staffing would be entirely up to the new hire.
"The new coach, whoever that is, will have the opportunity to hire his staff," Wellman said. "That doesn't mean that some of these guys wouldn't stay, and I will certainly talk favorably about our current staff with the new coach, but that will be entirely up to him."
Shortly after the press conference, Grobe reminisced about his long tenure at Wake Forest. When asked if he ever thought he'd be at Wake for such a long time he replied:
"No (laughing). My buddies never thought I'd last...my friends thought I was nuts. They thought I was crazy coming here. They didn't think it was possible. I'm proud of a lot of the things we've done. I'm disappointed in the last couple of seasons, that we haven't been more successful. It probably shocks most people that you can survive at Wake for 13 years."
In the end, Grobe reiterated that he is mostly concerned for the kids on his football team moving forward and working towards success at Wake Forest. He was adamant that, despite any sadness, this was a good thing for Wake Forest and his players.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed that we haven't played better these past two seasons but I do think going forward it's good," he said. "I love our kids. We've got a lot of guys with a twinkle in their eye that are pretty good football players that want to work hard and want to win. I'm disappointed that I'm not going to be the guy but I feel good about our kids going forward. I think that's a positive and like I mentioned, that's my concern."