Football Gameday Feature: Not A Fair-Weather Deac
Nov. 5, 2012
This article was originally published in the Nov. 3 edition of Kickoff, the official gameday magazine of Wake Forest football.
By Nick Sebesta, Wake Forest Athletic Communications
"Big Daddy is Wake Forest football".
A proclamation made by none other than Wake Forest head football coach Jim Grobe. For anybody associated with Wake Forest athletics, they know who Grobe is referring to. Bill Faircloth, or as he is commonly known `Big Daddy,' is the undeniable heart and soul of the Demon Deacon football program.
When the Deacons take on Boston College today, Faircloth, who serves as the assistant athletic director for football, will have been (in person) at his 400th consecutive Wake Forest football game.
Putting that into perspective, that means he made every single game, rain or shine, since Sept. 9, 1978 which was a 14-0 win over Virginia. Spanning five head coaches, eight bowl games and several memorable wins, Faircloth has seen it all and done it all with the football program.
"I've seen a lot in 32 years," said Faircloth. "I've seen some really meaningful games and it just means a lot to me. I'm glad I've had the opportunity to be here." Hailing from Clinton, N.C., Faircloth came to Wake Forest in 1960 and earned three varsity letters as a lineman. As a starting tackle his senior year, he was the team captain and an All-ACC Academic selection.
"It's changed a lot since I played," Faircloth remarked. "I was captain of a team that lost 19 straight. We beat South Carolina to break that streak and that was a great game to me. We used to play at Bowman Gray Stadium and now we play in a nicer place. I've seen a lot here."
After graduating from Wake Forest, he received his master's degree from Alabama in 1965 before taking an assistant coaching position at Catawba. After 10 seasons with the Indians, which included three years as head coach, Faircloth spent two seasons at Duke as an assistant.
"When we (Wake Forest) lost a game against East Carolina in 1963, that was probably one of the lowest points in my life; being from Clinton," said Faircloth. "I really wanted to win that game. At that game, I said I want to come back and coach and I would love to coach at Wake Forest."
In 1978, Faircloth got the opportunity to return to the institution where it all began, and he never looked back.
Beginning that season, he spent five years as an assistant coach and then moved to his current position of assistant athletic director for football in 1983. His position requires several duties while serving as an aide to Grobe.
"Our kids love him, he's the father of Wake Forest football," remarked Grobe. "There's no one that's been more important to Wake Forest that I know than Bill Faircloth. To be in his 400th game; he's just as loyal as a hound dog."
Wake Forest football has been through many ups and downs like most programs around the country, and Faircloth, he has been right there through all of it.
"I know a lot of those games, he probably didn't feel like being there," said Grobe. He's always there to help coaches, staff and especially the student-athletes who are adjusting to the stressful but meaningful lives of a major college football player. Hence the nickname, `Big Daddy'.
"All of these guys maybe think I'm a daddy away from home," said Faircloth. For all of the games he's been to, there are several highlights for Faircloth watching the Demon Deacons. "Every game is a good moment for me," remarked Faircloth. "When we beat Auburn in 1979, that was a really great win."
The Deacons defeated No. 13-ranked Auburn 42-38 on Oct. 27, 1979 at then Groves Stadium in a legendary win. In fact, it was the third win over a ranked opponent that season for Wake Forest as the Demon Deacons defeated No. 12 Georgia and No. 14 North Carolina as well.
Led by head coach John Mackovic, Wake Forest went to the 1979 Tangerine Bowl that season, taking on LSU. It was the first bowl game since the 1949 Dixie Bowl for the Deacs.
Going to bowl games has been important for Faricloth as he has also been to the 1992 Independence Bowl, the 1999 Aloha Bowl and the 2002 Seattle Bowl among others. But one of the top moments is perhaps, one of the most famous.
The fabled 2006 Wake Forest football team shocked the sports world that season by going 11-3 and being ranked in the top-25 polls.
Capped off with a trip to the FedEx Orange Bowl, the Demon Deacons won their first ACC Championship since 1970 over Georgia Tech with a gritty 9-6 win.
"The best one would be when we won the ACC Championship, that was a great one," remarked Faircloth.
The numbers speak for themselves when looking at the amount of Wake Forest football Faircloth has been involved with just as an assistant coach and administrator:
He has been there for nearly 40 percent of the total wins and total games played in school history. A remarkable feat which has left an indelible footprint on the program.
Grobe summed it up best: "If there's anyone that's loved Wake Forest more than this guy, I don't know who it would be."