Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson will spend the 2020 NCAA football season isolated from his wife due to coronavirus concerns. ESPN‘s David Hale reported on Thursday that Clawson’s wife falls into the “high risk” group because she recently recovered from a bout with breast cancer. Catherine has a reduced white blood cell count because of that cancer, even though she is now in good health.
Despite being disease-free, the blood cell count means she has a high chance of complications stemming from COVID-19 should she become infected, and the pair have decided to remain separated once the Demon Deacons’ pre-season camp opens in July.
“When I’m working on a daily basis, coaching 110 to 120 players and having a staff of 50, I don’t know how I could go home at night and honestly tell my wife I couldn’t have come in contact with [the coronavirus],” Clawson said. “I love coaching, but I love my wife more. There’s no way I’m going to do anything that would put her at risk.”
Earlier this week, Penn State head coach James Franklin said he’s planning on similarly isolating from his family out of concerns for his daughter’s health. She has sickle cell anemia and is also classified as “high risk” for complications that could stem from the coronavirus. Clawson said he’s been told by several of his assistant coaches they are also considering taking similar steps with their families.
He also told Wake Forest players participating in the upcoming season — assuming the season is played — is entirely voluntary. He said he assured them if they feel they need to sit out, their scholarships will still be honored. He and his staff have also reportedly told players who do intend on playing and practicing this summer and fall, that they need to follow the social distancing suggestions and limit unnecessary contact with others.
Clawson said he’s talked to his players and coaches about how this season is going to require a sacrifice many of them never envisioned. He added every player and coach understands that there are going to be certain difficulties over the course of the year in order to try and be the best team it can be, but worrying about getting loved ones sick because they were doing their jobs is a very different experience.
He added that making the decision to isolate from his wife was a difficult one, but the circumstances surrounding the game these days forced him to evolve and change his approach.