Coach Jim Grobe is one of those rare human beings that has a heart bigger than an ego, despite him having every reason to tote his success and legacy around. Instead of accepting his speaker fees, Grobe requested to have all the money donated to the Kids1stFund.
“I would like to see more people support the Kids1st program. I think Ethan and his battling Fanconi anemia …I think initially there’s a push for everyone to jump on board and help… but as time goes on it kind of gets pushed to the back of the mind.”
Sadly if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. Sometimes football fans in general, including myself, get carried away with the next game being won, instead of remembering the more important things in life- like life itself.
It’s with emphasizing on life itself that Grobe made one of his biggest impacts in college football. Coach Grobe strived to treat his football players like they were his own children. Instead of getting a degree in human nutrition or exercise science, Grobe got a master’s degree in guidance and counseling. As Grobe’s coaching career progressed, he recruited potential players by following 3 steps. For one, the player should have good academics, followed by having good character, and lastly having an advanced skill set. As Grobe says, it’s all about dependability over ability.
“Nothing is more important than your reputation. These 18, 19, 20 year old guys are going to make the same mistakes as every other 18, 19, 20 year old guy is going to make. But they’re in the front page of the newspaper when they make it. It’s more important that we stress to them how doing something that maybe all your buddies are doing and getting away with, it’s not ok for you to do, because you’re going to be front page news.”
At first Grobe had aspirations to go onto the NFL instead of immediately going into coaching. While the man played football all his life growing up, and leaving a trail of muddy, ripped up t-shirts behind him in the process, he would later learn a career in the pros just simply wasn’t an option. When his senior year was coming to an end at the University of Virginia, Grobe wasn’t about to let that be the end of his days involved in football.
“… Nothing was more disappointing to me than when I was a senior at the University of Virginia and I realized that, that was it. I wasn’t going to play at the next level. So I went to my head coach and asked if I could be a graduate assistant. He said sure so I came on…and it just seemed like…the logical step was that since I couldn’t play I decided to get into coaching.”
From there Grobe worked his way up the coaching ladder, and the rest is history. After his days at Wake Forest came to an end, he went on to working at FOX Sports as an analyst and appears weekly on the ACC Gridiron Show. Now it’s Grobe’s two sons who have followed their father’s footsteps and have become coaches themselves.
“Our oldest son Matt is the golf coach at Marshall and our younger son Ben is working for Brad Lambert at UNC Charlotte. I wanted to spank them when they told me when they were going to get into coaching, but they’re having fun.”
With Grobe now having a bird’s eye view of everything going on in the ACC college football world, he says he still loves nothing more than playing a good game of football. Although Grobe may not have gone into the pros like how he originally wanted to, it was probably for the best. For if Grobe didn’t go into coaching, he may not have been able to touch as many players’ lives like how he did in his career.