He’s not flashy or flamboyant…but that’s okay. He is understated…no-nonsense…solid. He is Jim Grobe, and it appears he will be the new head football coach at the University of Arkansas. And I think Hog fans are going to like him.
After ten days of searching — and managing mainly to secure raises for about half of the college football coaches in the South — it appears that new Athletic Director Jeff Long may have fallen ‘bass-ackward’ into something very promising with the hiring of Grobe.
By all accounts, he is a player’s coach who gets his teams to overachieve. Before becoming a head coach, Grobe spent 11 years coaching linebackers at Air Force (1984-94). As a former player himself — doubling at Virginia as a guard and linebacker in the early 70s — he is defensive-minded, while empowering his offensive staff to run the offense and call the plays.
As a head coach, Grobe’s claim to fame has been his ability to turn downtrodden programs into winners. His reclamation projects at Ohio (1995-2000) and Wake Forest (2001-present) are almost beyond belief. Both programs were in shambles before he got there…especially Wake.
But it took Grobe and his assistants just six years to mold the Demon Deacons into ACC Champions, win 11 games, and secure a BCS bowl bid to the Orange Bowl. His 2007 team went 8-4, and will face Connecticut in the Meineke Car Care Bowl later this month.
Recruiting players to come to a private school like Wake Forest couldn’t have been easy. Playing in tiny Groves Stadium (now BB&T Field) — capacity 31,500 — probably didn’t help much either. The facilities at Arkansas will make recruiting a much easier task than what he and his staff have been used to. And Grobe has a reputation as a high-character guy that recruits high-character kids.
â€œHe’s a good coach, and by that I mean he takes players and does things that give them a chance to be successful. Like their offense, there is a lot of misdirection and trickery with play-action passes deep. Defensively, he’s hired a good staff. They play extremely hard. They are sound and challenge short throws and pressure you. They’re well-coached and they have good players.
“He seems to be very humble. His team plays well. He is well respected in the coaching profession. [â€¦] My respect for him came mostly when I went up there one year (2003) and got beat so bad and he could have put a lot more (points) on us, but he didn’t.”
Whoever the coach was going to be at Arkansas next season was going to be challenged. The schedule and key departures will make it an uphill battle. But my guess is this guy won’t bat an eye.
So…from all of us here at RBN…welcome, Jim Grobe, to the Razorback family.