RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ Coach Jim Grobe will return next season to Wake Forest, having apparently rebuffed an attempt by Arkansas to hire him to replace Houston Nutt.
``He called and said he wants to continue as our football coach,'' Demon Deacons athletic director Ron Wellman said Thursday.
The Grobe-to-Arkansas speculation started late Wednesday, after a private University of Arkansas fundraising arm approved a salary supplement for the Wake Forest coach. There was no official word from Arkansas, however, on whether Grobe would replace Nutt, who quit Nov. 26 and was hired almost immediately by Mississippi.
Wellman declined to say whether Arkansas formally offered Grobe the job. Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement that no formal offer or agreement has been reached with a possible replacement.
``I understand and appreciate the strong interest in the search by our supporters and fans,'' Long said. ``Our parameters for the search remain the same, finding the best head football coach for the University of Arkansas. We will continue to work expeditiously to that end and I'm confident that we will achieve our goal.''
Grobe, the Associated Press coach of the year in 2006, did not immediately return messages left on his cell phone by the AP.
Wellman said he met with Grobe at the coach's house Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, leaving at about 12:45 a.m.
``We were talking about the future of Wake Forest football and how important he is to that future, and what a great job he has done thus far,'' Wellman said. ``We've still got a lot to accomplish at Wake Forest and he's the man to lead that charge.''
In keeping with the policy of the small private school, Wellman declined to say if Grobe's salary or compensation had changed.
The 55-year-old Grobe is 45-39 in seven seasons at Wake Forest, which has one of the smallest enrollments in the Bowl Subdivision. He led the Demon Deacons to an ACC title and berth in the Orange Bowl last season. This year, Wake Forest finished 8-4 and will play Connecticut in the Charlotte-based Meineke Bowl on Dec. 29.
The consecutive bowl appearances are the first in school history.
Earlier this week, Grobe said he would listen if schools approached him about their vacancies, but stressed that he was not chasing other jobs and was content to continue coaching at Wake Forest, a program he rebuilt by patiently redshirting freshmen and developing them through their five seasons.
Last year, he repeatedly denied reports that he was a candidate for the Alabama opening, and in February signed a 10-year contract extension that runs through the 2016 season.