The Wake Forest Demon Deacons football program in North Carolina happens to be one of the most prominent underdog teams in college football today. They are consistent, and determined, and were also ranked top-10 last season.

The team also has a very colorful and interesting history that dates back to its founding season in 1888. Yet it has seen its fair share of ups and downs throughout the years.

Looking at NCAAF odds to make wagers for the upcoming season is always a good idea. However, if you want to find out more about who the Demon Deacons are, we’ve got you covered!

Who Are They?

The history of the Demon Deacon blends sports, religion, and tradition. Their nickname “Demon Deacons” was granted by a school reporter after a ‘devilish’ win over rivals at Trinity College (now Duke University).

Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons is the American college football representative of Wake Forest University.

The Demon Deacons currently compete in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and also in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). They are the smallest school playing in a Power Five conference. 

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons play all home football games at Truist Field in Wake Forest.

A Brief Team History

1888 to 1936

Wake Forest founded its football team in 1888. The team played a single game and was victorious against the University of North Carolina. This was also the first-ever college football game played in North Carolina state.

The team truly began to achieve success after the introduction of Hank Garrity, who served as head coach for only two seasons, 1923 and 1924. Garrity managed to compile a 19–7–1 record and a record-breaking winning percentage for the team (.704).

The football team competed as an independent team for several decades until joining the Southern Conference in 1936.

1937 to Present Day

Peahead Walker became Wake Forest’s football head coach in 1937 for an impressive 14 seasons. He remains tied with Jim Grobe with the most wins as the Deacons’ head football coach.

In their fifth season under the coaching of Jim Grobe (who remained head coach from 2001-2013), the Demon Deacons compiled a total 4–7 record and even managed to finish in fourth place in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

During this year, the Demon Deacons won their first ACC championship in over 36 years, played in the Orange Bowl (which they later lost to Louisville), and posted an 11-2 record. Grobe received many awards for this season. 

Things seemed to be going downhill for the team until the introduction of another head coach in 2014, the legendary Dave Clawson. Clawson brought with him a coaching style that utilized all of the available talents on the team to maximize success. He continues to successfully lead the Deacons football today. 

Rivalry

Wake Forest is known as being part of “Tobacco Road”, also referred to as the Big Four, which is a term that refers to the four major North Carolina schools that heatedly compete against one other within the ACC. 

Remaining in the very same division of the ACC, Wake Forest and its in-state rival North Carolina State battle each other every year. 

This is also one of the longest-running ACC rivalries in history and has occurred every year since 1910 without fail. It is also the fourth overall longest continuous rivalry in the history of the NCAA. 

Although there have been some interruptions to the series since it began, it has been uninterrupted since 1910. Such a record ties this rivalry with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State for the second-longest rivalry in the entirety of FBS Division I college football.

Mascot

Nowadays, the team is well-known for its unorthodox mascot — both in name and appearance. It came about in 1941 when some WFU students designed a mascot based on a Baptist church deacon: characterized by a top hat, a tuxedo, and carrying a black umbrella. 

In 1980, the crowd-favorite Demon Deacon evolved into a full costume featuring a huge deacon head. It has become a mainstay in U.S. college mascots.

Major Achievements

Wake Forest struggled during the second half of the 20th century. However, since the beginning of the 21st century, they have been highly competitive and have made ten bowl games (so far).

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons football team has won a total of two conference championship titles: one in 1970 under head coach Cal Stoll, and another in 2006 under the legendary Jim Grobe. 

They have also won two division championships with Grobe (2006) against Georgia Tech and, most recently, during the 2021 season under current head coach Dave Clawson and facing the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Conclusion

The Demon Deacons have a deep history within the college football world. After a jagged performance with lots of ups and downs, it’s easy to write this team off. However, thanks to a talented roster of players currently in rotation, there should be no doubts about the things this team will achieve over the next few seasons!