Bowling Green hired former Tennessee offensive coordinator Dave Clawson as its head coach Friday.
Clawson spent only one season at Tennessee, but newly hired coach Lane Kiffin decided not to keep him on staff. Clawson replaces Gregg Brandon, who was fired after six seasons.
“It is an honor and a thrill to be given this opportunity to coach football at Bowling Green State University,” said Clawson. “To be named the head coach of a football program that is filled with a rich history is a dream come true. The ability to work at a first-rate academic school and to compete in a conference that is competitive year in and year out excites me to be a Falcon. I look forward to continuing the tradition at Bowling Green State University.”
The Toledo Blade reported that Clawson is expected to sign a six-year contract with an annual base salary of $200,000. He will be able to make as much as $400,000 with incentives.
Clawson, who was accompanied at the news conference by his wife and two children, said that unlike his stints at Fordham and Richmond, Bowling Green can compete for a championship right away. On offensive and defensive schemes, Clawson said he prides himself on not being married to any one system and will adapt to his players’ strengths.
Much of Clawson’s success came in the Football Championship Subdivision, where he was coach at Richmond and Fordham and twice won coach of the year honors. He led Richmond to the national semifinals in 2007.
“Dave’s experience as a head coach impressed all of us. Not just the winning records, but all aspects of how he ran his programs,” said Bowling Green athletic director Greg Christopher.
The 41-yearold Clawson replaces Brandon, who was 44-30 and led the Falcons to three bowl games after taking over for Urban Meyer.
Clawson left Richmond for Tennessee in January, saying he couldn’t pass up a chance to coach in the Southeastern Conference.
He achieved his goal of becoming a head coach even though Tennessee’s offense struggled this season, ranking near the bottom of all major college teams in total offense.
The Vols never managed to put together a consistent passing or running attack, and they were slow to adjust to a new offense with multiple formations.
Clawson was credited with re-energizing the Richmond program. After going 3-8 in 2004, the Spiders went 9-4 and made the playoffs the following year. A year ago, Richmond was beaten in the semifinals by eventual champion Appalachian State.
He spent five years coaching Fordham and was the offensive coordinator at Lehigh and Villanova.
Bowling Green passed over at least one candidate who spent time in the area, Missouri defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, who played and coached at nearby Toledo.
Former Bowling Green and Oklahoma State assistant Tim Beckman said he was contacted about the job before he took the top position at Toledo a week ago.