Wake Forest took on Tulane on Thursday, Sept. 1, in the 2016 season opener.
The improvement in the Wake Forest football program in 2015 was noticeable in nearly every facet of the program. The Deacon offense and defense both improved in the NCAA statistical rankings with the defense ranking 38th in total defense.
And for a second consecutive year, the Deacons brought in a recruiting class that will fill a number of needs.
For head coach Dave Clawson, the 2016 season is already well underway. From the addition of McCreary Field House, one of the nation's top indoor practice facilities, and an expanded weight room, Clawson and the Deacons are moving full speed into 2016.
Known for his prowess in building programs, Clawson has shown dramatic improvement at every stop including a noticeable increase in Year Three. The 2016 season marks Clawson's third year with the Demon Deacons.
On December 10, 2013, Clawson became the 32nd head football coach in Wake Forest University history. The head coach at Bowling Green State University from 2009 through 2013, Clawson led the Falcons to the 2013 Mid-American Conference championship with a 47-27 win over No. 16 Northern Illinois.
Clawson and his staff put together a defensive unit in 2014 that finished 12th in the nation in passing yards allowed and 40th nationally in total defense. The improvement on special teams was notable as the Deacons were fourth in the nation in net punting.
Clawson built Bowling Green to be explosive both offensively and defensively. The 2013 Falcon team was eighth in the nation in total defense and 23rd in total offense. The Falcons were one of just six teams to rank in the top-30 nationally in both total offense and defense. In 2012, BGSU was ranked sixth in the nation in total defense and 10th nationally in scoring defense, yielding just 16.8 points per game. The Falcons were the only non-power conference team to rank in the top 25 statistically in both total offense and total defense in 2013.
Bowling Green's 2013 team went 10-3 overall and won the MAC East title with a 7-1 record. The Falcons received a bid to the Little Caesar's Bowl in Detroit which marked the third bowl appearance in five seasons for Clawson's team.
In his 15 years as a head coach, Clawson has delivered a conference championship at every stop. Prior to the 2013 Mid-American Conference title at Bowling Green, Clawson helped Richmond to an Atlantic 10 Championship in 2005 and a Colonial Athletic Association title in 2007. His first championship as a head coach came in 2002 when he led Fordham to the Patriot League title.
He has also earned numerous coach of the year awards. He was the Patriot League Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2002 and was awarded the 2005 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year award in just his second year in the league. Clawson earned CAA Coach of the Year honors in 2007, giving him four coach of the year honors in his first seven years as a head coach.
In 2002, Clawson was the Schutt Sports/American Football Monthly I-AA Coach of the Year and a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award. In 2005, Clawson earned National Coach of the Year from I-AA.org and was again a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award.
The Dave Clawson File
August 16, 1967
-- B.A. in Political Economy
SUNY Albany, 1992
-- M.A. in Liberal Studies
daughter Courtney and son Eric
Three year starter at defensive back and was also a member of the basketball team.
2007 CAA Coach of the Year
2005 I-AA.org National Coach of the Year
2005 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year
2002 Schutt Sports/American Football Monthly National I-AA Coach of the Year
2001 & 2002 Patriot League Coach of the Year
A 1989 graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts, Clawson earned a degree in political economy. A native of Youngstown, N.Y., Clawson was a defensive back for Williams and went on to serve as a graduate assistant coach at Albany in 1989 and 1990. He moved to Buffalo for the 1991 and 1992 seasons, tutoring the secondary his first year and the quarterbacks and running backs his second.
In 1993, Clawson was named the running backs coach at Lehigh and helped the Mountain Hawks to a 7-4 record and the Patriot League championship. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1994 and spent two years in that role, adding another Patriot League title in 1995.
Villanova hired Clawson as offensive coordinator in 1996 and his offense helped the Wildcats to NCAA FCS playoff appearances in 1996 and 1997. During his tenure at Villanova, Clawson's offense established 70 program records, held the No. 1 ranking in the nation for six weeks in 1997 and won the 1997 Atlantic 10 championship. He tutored Brian Westbrook, who became the first player in college football history to gain 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving.
Following the 1998 season, Clawson became the nation's youngest Division I head coach when he was named head coach at Fordham. Inheriting a team that had won just 22 games in the previous 10 years, Clawson turned the Rams into the Patriot League champions in his fourth season at the helm. He was the Patriot League Coach of the Year in both 2001 and 2002. Clawson helped the Rams 2002 FCS Playoffs where they defeated fourth seed Northeastern in the opening round before falling to Villanova.
Clawson was named the head coach at Richmond prior to the 2004 season. He guided the Spiders to the biggest two-year turnaround in school history, improving from 3-8 in 2004 to 9-4 in 2005. In 2007, his final year with the Spiders, Clawson guided Richmond to an 11-3 record, the Colonial South title and the FCS national semifinals.
He left Richmond in 2008 to replace David Cutcliffe as the offensive coordinator under Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee. Following that season, Clawson was named the head coach at Bowling Green in time for the 2009 season.
Clawson has compiled a 93-89 record in 15 career seasons including a 59-54 mark in conference games. He was 29-29 in five seasons at Fordham, 29-20 in four seasons at Richmond and 32-31 in five seasons with Bowling Green.
Clawson and his wife, Catherine, are the parents of two children, Courtney and Eric.