Staff
Head Coach
Dave Clawson

When Dave Clawson was named Wake Forest University’s 32nd head football coach on Dec. 10, 2013, he set out to build the top program in North Carolina and compete for championships.

After reaching a program record fourth-straight bowl game and winning the Deacs eighth Big 4 Championship in 2019, Clawson is realizing the vision of what he set out to create. Furthermore, since the start of the 2017 season Wake Forest is tied for the second-most wins in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Clawson has also engineered an offense that has rewritten the record books at Wake Forest. The Deacs have set over 300 school records including marks for points scored, total offensive yards, first downs and passing yards over the past three seasons.

Clawson co-owns the school record for bowl victories, has climbed to the third-most wins in school history, and has led Wake Forest to a four-year period (2016-19) of success that had been unmatched since the 1940s.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited Sutton Sports Performance Center opened last fall and gave Wake football a state-of-the-art facility that features a world-class strength and conditioning complex to go with 16,000 square feet of space for coaches’ offices, recruiting space and team meeting areas as well as a specialized nutrition center.

Clawson joined the Demon Deacons after five seasons as the head coach at Bowling Green State University where he led the Falcons to the 2013 Mid-American Conference championship with a 47-27 win over No. 16 Northern Illinois.

In his 20 years as a head coach, Clawson has delivered a conference championship at each of his first three stops. Prior to the 2013 MAC title, Clawson helped Richmond to a pair of Colonial Athletic Association titles in 2005 and 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. The 2007 CAA Coach of the Year award marked his fourth conference Coach of the Year honor in his first nine 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.

A 1989 graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts, Clawson earned a degree in political economy and played defensive back.

Clawson and his wife, Catherine, are the parents of two children, Courtney and Eric.

Assistant Head Coach / Wide Receivers
Kevin Higgins

Kevin Higgins is in his seventh season on the Wake Forest football staff after joining head coach Dave Clawson in December 2013. Higgins, who spent nine seasons as the head coach of The Citadel, serves as the associate head coach and coaches Wake Forest’s wide receivers.

Wake Forest’s most veteran coach, Higgins has overseen the development of a receiving corps that regularly competes among the best in the ACC. His receivers contributed mightily to Wake Forest’s offensive explosion of the last three seasons, setting records for points scored and total offense. In fact, Wake Forest’s 89 touchdown receptions over the last two years are the most of any ACC team during that time.

While at Wake Forest, Higgins has worked with receivers K.J. Brent and Alex Bachman, each of whom spent time in the NFL in 2019.

Higgins compiled a 99-83-1 record in 16 years as a head coach. He was the head coach for seven seasons at Lehigh from 1994-2000, leading the Mountain Hawks to a 56-25-1 record and three appearances in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

A native of Emerson, N.J., Higgins began his collegiate coaching career in 1981 as an assistant at Gettysburg. After four years he became an assistant at Richmond before joining Lehigh as an assistant in 1988. After six seasons he was elevated to head coach and led Lehigh from 1994 through 2000.

A 1977 graduate of West Chester, Higgins earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education while playing free safety and being named the team’s most valuable defensive back his senior season. He went on to receive his master’s degree in physical education from East Stroudsburg in 1981.

Higgins and his wife, Kay, have three children: son Tim (wife Sarah), and daughters Meaghan (husband Jason Helms) and Katie Rose.

Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks
Warren Ruggiero

Warren Ruggiero begins his seventh season as Wake Forest’s offensive coordinator and quarterback coach after previously serving in the same role under head coach Dave Clawson at Bowling Green.

Over the last three seasons, Ruggiero has directed one of the most prolific offenses in college football. Ruggiero has coordinated a Demon Deacon offense that has set or tied over 300 offensive records in the past three seasons. The Deacons’ accomplishments over the last three years have included posting three of the top four total offense seasons in school history. Since the start of the 2017 season, Wake Forest’s 89 touchdown passes are more than any other ACC team and the most of any three-year period in school history.

The last three seasons have produced the three highest scoring seasons in school history with each club surpassing 400 points. Wake Forest’s 1,300 points scored during the last three years is the highest-scoring three-year period in Deacon history.

Ruggiero has been an offensive coordinator at six universities before Wake Forest, and has tutored quarterbacks for 28 years at the college level. His offense has finished in the top 10 in the country in either total offense or scoring offense at all six stops. Ruggiero’s units have finished in the top six in the country in passing offense at the last four stops. He has coached an All-American QB at five of his last six coaching jobs.

Ruggiero is a 1988 graduate of the University of Delaware, where he played quarterback and served as a graduate assistant while earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physical education.

Ruggiero and his wife, Jennifer, have one daughter, Emma.

Special Team Coordinator / Tight Ends
Wayne Lineburg

Wayne Lineburg joined the Demon Deacon coaching staff as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator in January, 2017 and will begin his fourth year in 2020.

Lineburg tutored placekicker Nick Sciba who set the NCAA record by converting 32 consecutive field goal tries over the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Sciba is the most accurate kicker in Wake Forest history, having made 43 of 47 career attempts, nearly 92 percent, and earned 2019 first team All-ACC honors. Sciba’s 119 points in 2019 marked the most points ever by a Wake Forest player. He also tutored TE Jack Fruendenthal to an All-ACC season in 2019.

A 1996 graduate of Virginia, Lineburg was a four-year quarterback for the Cavaliers and played on three bowl teams.

He started his coaching career in 1996 as an assistant coach at William & Mary before returning to Virginia in 1998 as a graduate assistant coach. He rejoined William & Mary as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator in 2000 before joining Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson’s staff at Richmond in 2004.

Lineburg was named the wide receiver coach at Virginia in 2007 and moved to running backs coach in 2009. He returned to Richmond in 2010 for a four-year stint in several positions including offensive coordinator, associate head coach and recruiting coordinator while also coaching, at different times, quarterbacks and running backs. In 2011, Lineburg served as the interim head coach at Richmond.

In 2014, he was hired at Connecticut where he served as special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach in his first season before taking over the quarterbacks the last two seasons.

Lineburg’s father, Norman, was the long-time coach at Radford (Va.) High School and is a member of the Virginia High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Wayne was an all-district quarterback while playing high school football for his father.

Lineburg’s brother Robert is the athletic director at Radford University, his brother Mark is the superintendent of schools in Halifax County, Va. and his brother Paul is the principal at Northside Middle School in Roanoke, Va. Wayne’s cousin, Mike Young, is the head basketball coach at Virginia Tech.

Lineburg and his wife Tracey have two daughters, Addyson and Alexis.

Running Backs
John Hunter

John Hunter enters his seventh year on the Wake Forest football staff after coaching and works with the Deacs running backs.

The improvement in Wake Forest’s rushing attack under Hunter’s leadership has been astounding, as the Demon Deacons have put together three straight seasons of rushing for over 2,000 yards, the first time that has happened since 1996. Wake has rushed for 61 touchdowns over the last three years, the most-productive three-year stretch since 2003.

Hunter spent eight years on the Bowling Green coaching staff working with the running backs. Retained on the staff when Clawson took over the Bowling Green program in 2009, Hunter took on additional responsibilities as recruiting coordinator.

A 1988 graduate of Bowling Green, Hunter started his coaching career in the Detroit area, becoming the head coach at Pershing High in 2000. In his six seasons, Pershing posted a 40-28 record, made four appearances in the state playoffs and earned a pair of district titles.

Prior to his stint at Pershing High School, Hunter was an assistant coach at St. Martin DePorres in 1989 and from 1994-99. He was the defensive backs coach for a team which won the state championship in 1989 and was defensive coordinator from 1994-99, also winning state titles in 1995 and 1996. As a player, he also played on state title teams at DePorres in 1981 and 1982.

A four-year starter for Bowling Green at defensive end, Hunter earned All-MAC honors in 1986 and 1987 and helped the Falcons to the 1985 MAC title and a berth in the California Bowl. As a redshirt freshman, Hunter had nine tackles and three sacks in a win over archrival Toledo. He led the 1985 BGSU team with eight sacks. Hunter finished his career with 336 tackles and 44 tackles for loss. He signed as a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers following his senior season.

A native of Detroit, he and his wife, Amara, have a son, John, who plays football at Appalachian State, and a daughter, Justiss.

Assistant Coach / Offensive Line
Nick Tabacca

Nick Tabacca is in his seventh season on the Wake Forest football staff. Tabacca, who joined the staff in January 2014, serves as the offensive line coach.

Tabacca’s development of the offensive line has been critical to the offensive success the Demon Deacons have enjoyed over the last three seasons. Under Tabacca’s guidance, the line has helped Wake Forest achieve three of the four most prolific offensive seasons in school history.

Wake Forest placed four of its five offensive line starters on the All-ACC team following the 2019 season. It marked the first time in school history that the Deacons placed four offensive linemen on the All-ACC squad. Wake Forest also set the school record for passing yards in a season in 2019 while posting its lowest sacks allowed per pass attempt since 1998.

Tabacca came to Wake Forest following a two-year stint at his alma mater, Ball State, as its offensive line coach and run game coordinator.

He also served as the offensive line coach at Butler (2010-11), Defiance College (2007-09) and was a Graduate Assistant at Ball State (2005-06) following his playing career.

Tabacca is a 2004 graduate of Ball State and a four-year letterman for the Cardinals on the offensive line. He started 33 games in his final three seasons and was a two-time Academic All-Mid-American Conference selection, while also serving as team captain as a senior.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Tabacca is a graduate of Hilliard Davidson High School. He and wife Alyssa have five children -- Sophia, Lucas, Lily, Grace and William.

Assistant Head Coach/ Defensive Line
Dave Cohen

Dave Cohen enters his seventh season on the Wake Forest football staff after spending the previous two seasons at Rutgers. Cohen, who coaches the defensive line, added assistant head coach of defense duties at Wake Forest ahead of the 2019 season.

Since joining the Wake Forest staff prior to the 2014 season, Cohen has made an impact on the Demon Deacon front four. Each season since he has arrived on campus at least one defensive lineman has earned All-ACC honors. This included Carlos “Boogie” Bashham Jr., who enjoyed a breakout campaign off the edge in 2019. He was the ACC leader with 18.0 tackles for loss while tying for 14th nationally with 11.0 sacks.

Cohen has also proven to put plenty of talent in the NFL, producing at least one pro player at four different stops including Wake Forest. A 2017 graduate, Duke Ejifor posted 17 sacks over his final two seasons on campus and went on to be drafted by the Houston Texans in the sixth round.

In previous stops, Cohen has also spent time teaching the linebacker position. While at Rutgers, he helped tutor one of the most accomplished players in Scarlet Knights’ history in Kasheem Green. The 2012 Big East Defensive Player of the Year racked up 136 tackles, six sacks, six forced fumbles, two interceptions and two defensive touchdowns en route to being named a first team All-American honoree.

He also has a history as a play caller earning the NCAA I-AA Defensive Coordinator of the Year by American Football Monthly magazine while at Delaware. The Blue Hens captured the 2003 National Championship, shutting out Colgate, 40-0, in the title game. Cohen’s success at Delware helped him earn a head coaching job at Hofstra

He and his wife Denise have two sons, Charlie and Brian.

Cornerbacks
Paul Williams

Paul Williams enters his first season on the Wake Forest football staff after joining head coach Dave Clawson in February 2020. Williams, who spent a season as an analyst at Texas, coaches Wake Forest’s cornerbacks.

Williams has a long history of training NFL talent over his 23-year coaching career. Currently, Williams has 11 players on active NFL defensive backs and has produced 13 NFL draft picks from five different schools.

Included on his list of NFL players, is 2016 first round pick Artie Burns who was recruited by and played under Williams at Miami (FL). In his final season under William’s tutelage, Burns intercepted six passes, the most by a Hurricane since Sean Taylor’s 10 in 2003.

The longest tenured NFL veteran coached by Williams is the Houston Texans’ safety Mike Adams. The 16-year pro has been voted to two Pro Bowls. Adams and Williams played a key role in Delaware’s 2004 DI-AA National Championship. In the title game, the Blue Hens defense shutout Colgate en route to a 40-0 victory. Delaware allowed just 111 yards passing and Colgate completed just 10 passes.

In his last six stops as a full-time head coach, Williams has produced at least one NFL defensive back

Married to the former Nicole Heileman and has one son, Austin, and twins, Jaxon and Leah.

Defensive Coordinator/ Safeties
Lyle Hemphill

Lyle Hemphill enters his fourth season on the Wake Forest football staff after spending the previous six seasons at Stony Brook. Hemphill, who worked primarily with safeties his first two seasons on campus, added defensive coordinator duties at Wake Forest during the 2018 season.

Since joining the Wake Forest staff prior to the 2017 season, Hemphill has made an immediate impact as the defensive coordinator while helping groom safeties for the NFL.

Last season, the Deacs ranked in the top 20 nationally in third-down defense, fumbles recovered, interceptions and turnovers gained. In 2017 working primarily with safeties, he helped develop 2018 second-round pick Jessie Bates. The Cincinnati Bengals safety was an All-ACC selection and finished third in program history with 195 interception return yards.

Before moving to Winston-Salem, Hemphill spent six seasons at Stony Brook including the last four as the defensive coordinator. He was recognized as the 2015 FCS Defensive Coordinator of the Year by FootballScoop. The Seawolves had one of the most dominant defenses in the country that season allowing an FCS low 250.1 yards per game while also having a nation low 4.10 yards per play allowed.

Before moving into a coordinator role, he developed as one of the best defensive backs coaches at the FCS level, helping Delaware to the 2010 FCS Championship Game. He also had the nation’s fourth ranked pass defense in 2008.

His coaching career started at Delaware Valley University in 2002 coaching defensive backs and special teams before moving on to Delaware as a graduate assistant in 2004.

He and his wife, Christen, have four children, Izabella, Lyla, Georgia and Olivia.

Assistant Special Teams Coordinator / Nickelbacks
Ryan Crawford

Ryan Crawford enters his third season on the Wake Forest football staff after joining head coach Dave Clawson in February 2018. Crawford, who spent six seasons as the special teams coordinator and secondary coach at Harvard, serves as the assistant special teams coordinator and coaches Wake Forest’s nickelbacks.

Crawford steps into a new role in 2020 adding assistant special teams coach responsibilities as well as working with the backend of the Demon Deacons defense.

Over the past two seasons as the cornerbacks coach, Crawford has played an integral role in the development of Essang Bassey and Amari Henderson. The cornerback duo ended their Demon Deacon careers ranked second and third among active players in passes defended with Bassey finishing with 50 while Henderson defended 48 passes.

Prior to making the move to Winston-Salem, Crawford spent six seasons as the secondary coach at Harvard. During that time, the Crimson were regularly ranked inside of the top 10 in scoring defense and total defense in all of FCS. In his final four seasons in Beantown, he added special teams coordinator duties, helping Justice Shelton-Mosely led all of FCS with an average of 18.8 yard per return while also leading the FCS with a pair of touchdown returns in 2017.

Before moving to the Ivy League, Crawford had multi-year stops at Rhode Island, Bucknell and his alma mater Davidson. In his final season at Rhode Island, Crawford was promoted to defensive coordinator.

A 2001 graduate of West Chester, Higgins earned a bachelor’s degree in biology while playing defensive back and being named the school’s male athlete of the year in 2000. He led I-AA with eight interceptions his junior season en route to earning first team All-American honors.

Crawford and his wife, Carrie, have two sons Dylan and Bryson.

Linebackers
Greg Jones

Greg Jones enters his first season on the Wake Forest football staff after spending the last four seasons in various roles inside the program. Jones, who was promoted in Feb. 2020, coaches Wake Forest’s linebackers.

Jones joined the Deacs staff in 2016 and has served in two other roles, including two seasons as a defensive graduate assistant and one as an offensive analyst.

Jones worked closely with current Texas A&M Defensive Coordinator, Mike Elko, during Jones time with him, Wake Forest's defense ranked in the top 40 nationally in total defense and 33rd in rushing defense (142.4 yards/game) in 2016.

Prior to Wake, Jones coached Cornell's secondary for three seasons (2013-15) and spent the 2012 season as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Regarding his playing career at Bucknell, Jones was a two-year captain, collected 257 career tackles and was named team MVP in 2009 while also earning first team All-Patriot League honors.

He resides in Winston-Salem with his wife Jordan.

Graduate Assistant
Bryant Gross-Armiento

Bryant Gross-Armiento is in his second year on staff at Wake Forest, and is in his first year as a graduate assistant after serving as a recruiting assistant in 2017.

Gross-Armiento began his football playing career at Rutgers before transferring to Wake Forest in 2014. However, a series of injuries prevented him from getting on the field with the Deacons.

The No. 71-rated safety in the nation by ESPN.com coming out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. American Heritage High School, Gross Armiento helped the Patriots to a 9-2 record as a senior and a berth in the Florida Class 5A playoffs.

Gross-Armiento earned his degree from Wake Forest in May, 2017 as a communication major with a minor in economics and sociology.

Graduate Assistant
CJ McGorisk

C.J. McGorisk joined the Wake Forest football staff as a defensive graduate assistant prior to spring practice in 2019.
Previously, McGorisk was at Fresno State as the defensive line graduate assistant in 2017 & 2018, where he worked alongside defensive line coach Jamar Cain. The Bulldogs defense was ranked in the top-20 in the nation in overall defense in both seasons, while also ranked in the top-10 in the nation in scoring defense.
During his time in Fresno he was part of one of the biggest turnarounds in college football history. Head coach Jeff Tedford and his staff successfully changed the Bulldog culture and experienced back to back seasons of 10 or more wins, following a 1-11 season in 2016. The Bulldogs went 22-6 winning a conference championship and two bowl games.
A 2016 graduate from the University of Michigan with a degree in movement science, McGorisk held numerous positions with the Wolverines including serving as a defensive student assistant, strength and conditioning intern and student equipment manager.
The Wixom, Michigan native was a quarterback at Walled Lake Western High School where he served as a team captain in 2011.

Graduate Assistant
Kyle Perkins

Kyle Perkins joined the Wake Forest football staff in 2018 as a recruiting assistant.

Perkins came to Wake Forest from Oberlin College in Amherst, Ohio where he coached the wide receivers in 2017. He started his coaching career at Division II Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio, working as an offensive intern and wide receivers coach.

As a player at Notre Dame, Perkins was an all-conference tight end in 2015 and served as team captain. He earned his degree in public relations in 2016 from Notre Dame College.

Graduate Assistant
Austin Gund

Austin Gund enters his first season as a graduate assistant under head coach Dave Clawson.

He will work primarily with the offensive line, assisting offensive line coach Nick Tabacca on a day-to-day basis.

Gund spent the previous two seasons serving as the offensive line coach and director of football operations at Belhaven University (MS).

During his two seasons at Belhaven, Gund was instrumental in the Blazer’s transformation from an Air Raid to a Pro Style offense.

Prior to his time at Belhaven, Gund worked as an offensive quality control coach at Delaware. While working with the offensive line during his time on campus, the Blue Hens averaged 190.7 rushing yards per game, which ranked second in the CAA. Delaware averaged 4.2 yards per carry and just 20 sacks allowed over the course of the 2017 season.

A 2015 graduate from University of Richmond, Gund was a 4-year starter at center for the Spiders, serving as a team captain during his final three seasons. He helped lead Richmond to two FCS Playoff appearances while on campus including a 2012 CAA Conference Championship.

In his final two seasons with the Spiders, Gund earned first team All-CAA honors while being named a second team All-American in 2014. Over his career, he totaled 42 starts in the middle of the Richmond offensive line.

Assistant Athletic Director/Director of Football Operations
Jordan Jarry

Jordan Jarry is in his second season as an Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations after three seasons as Director of Football Operations at Wake Forest. He is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the football program as well as coordinating all team travel.

Jarry came to Wake Forest after three seasons as director of operations for the football program at UMass. Not only did he oversee the daily operation of the program, he also was the staff liaison to the university, monitored the team’s budget and coordinated numerous external relations projects such as coaches clinics, women’s clinics and alumni reunions. Jarry also played a key role in UMass’ transition to the FBS level.

Prior to his time at UMass, Jarry spent the 2010 season as the outside linebackers coach at the Colorado School of Mines where he also assisted in recruiting, video coordinating and strength and conditioning.

With the Ore Diggers, Jarry helped coach a defense that led CSM to the 2010 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship and a spot in the NCAA Division II Playoffs. The defensive unit led the RMAC in sacks (36) and ranked second in red-zone defense and interceptions.

Prior to CSM, the Nashua, N.H., native spent five years (2005-10) working in the Georgetown Athletics Department where he served as an account executive for ticket sales and corporate sponsorship. He assisted the department in producing over $8 million in revenue while also working with over 100 corporate clients including Sprint, AMTRAK, GEICO, Xerox and Coca-Cola.

Jarry was a four-year letterwinner at Georgetown as a tight end for the Hoyas from 2001-04. He was named to the 2003 and 2004 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll and was a Dean’s List student earning a degree in history in 2005. He received his master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown in 2009.

Jarry and his wife Leigh Ann, were married in July 2014 and have one son, Colton. They reside in Winston-Salem.

Assistant Director of Football Operations
Ben Baker

Ben Baker joined the Wake Forest football staff in 2016 as an intern and returned in 2017 as a video operations assistant.

Baker is a 2013 graduate of Central Michigan University with a degree in sport management. He earned his master’s in health and human performance at Northwestern State in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Baker’s responsibilities include creating and editing weekly highlight videos and producing footage from practice and games. He assists the recruiting area with the creation and implementation of video graphics. While at Northwestern State, Baker was a gameday operations supervisor for one year and led the football video production operations during his second year.

Director of Player Personnel
Russ Kieselhorst

Russ Kieselhorst enters his first season as the Director of Player Personnel, earning the promotion in February of 2020.

He will supervise the daily operation of the recruiting office among other responsibilities.

Kieselhorst joined the Wake Forest staff in 2019 as a recruiting assistant while also helping then former director of player personnel Greg Jones with the Demon Deacons offensive personnel. In this role, he helped coordinate transcript evaluations and managed the overall personnel database.

Kieselhorst joined the Demon Deacons after five seasons at Marshall. He began in 2014 as a recruiting intern before being promoted to the Director of High School Relations in 2015. In 2017 Kieselhorst added the title of Director of Player Personnel.

At Marshall, he oversaw all aspects of the recruiting office and assisted the Herd recruit some of the top C-USA recruiting classes, win a conference championship and post four bowl victories over his five years.

The 2014 graduate of Wisconsin-Parkside earned a B.S. in sport management. He is a native of Manitowoc, Wisc.

Director of Recruiting
Chris Coulter

Chris Coulter enters his first season as the Director of Recruiting, earning the promotion in February of 2020.

In this role, Coulter oversees all aspects of the recruiting process as well as serving as the program’s NFL liaison.

Overall, this marks the fourth season Coulter will serve on the Wake Forest staff. In the prior three seasons on the football staff, he worked as a recruiting assistant - creative media coordinator. He helped developed recruiting plans through graphics and other digital media.

Coulter joined the Demon Deacons after two seasons at Florida State. While with the Seminoles, he assisted in tracking prospective student-athletes through film breakdown, updating recruiting databases and maintaining social media contact with potential players. In addition, he served an internship in sports marketing at Florida State.

Coulter is a 2012 graduate of Florida State University with a B.S. in Sport Management. He was a walk-on defensive back with the Seminoles until an injury ended his career.