Wake Forest Football HC Dave Clawson to Self-Isolate from Wife Amid COVID-19

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2020

Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson watches his team against Louisville in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. Louisville won 62-59. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Nell Redmond/Associated Press

Wake Forest head football coach Dave Clawson said Thursday he's going to self-isolate from his wife, cancer survivor Catherine Clawson, for the entire 2020 season beginning with training camp July 12.

Clawson explained his wife is at a higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19 because of her reduced white blood cell count, and it could prove difficult for him to avoid the coronavirus while working alongside the nearly 200 people involved in the Demon Deacons program, per ESPN's David M. Hale.

"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]," he 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."

Clawson said the staff has informed all players that activities will be voluntary throughout the 2020 season and that their scholarship won't be rescinded if they decide to sit out for health or safety reasons related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Hale.

"We've told our players that to play college football has always required dedication and sacrifice, and if we want to play football this year, they're going to have to sacrifice more than they ever have before in terms of curtailing social life and not being around large groups of people, and the staff is no different," he said.

Penn State head coach James Franklin confirmed Tuesday he's also planning to spend the upcoming campaign away from his family.

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In 2014, Franklin revealed his daughter Addison had been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, a disease related to the body's red blood cells.

He said on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (via Phillip Bupp of The Comeback) they decided it was best if his wife and kids remain in Florida while he coaches the Nittany Lions.

"I have two daughters," Franklin said. "My one youngest daughter has sickle cell disease, so it's changed dynamics in our family. My wife and kids are going to stay in Florida for the season. And I'm going to be in Happy Valley just because we think that's the right thing to do for my daughter with sickle cell."

He added: "There was a lot of tears. There was a lot of emotion having this conversation with my daughters. So a lot of heartache over it."

People who are immunocompromised face a higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19.

For now, the NCAA hasn't announced plans to shorten or cancel the 2020 season because of the coronavirus despite a recent surge in cases, including a single-day record Thursday.

Week 1 is scheduled to kick off Aug. 29. Wake Forest opens the season Sept. 4 against Old Dominion, while Penn State starts with a Sept. 5 matchup against Kent State.

Bleacher Report's David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports.