Ron Wellman's Column

June 21, 2010

Now that the 2009-10 sports season is just about wrapped up, this is a good time to reflect back on some of the changes that were made in the basketball program this spring.

As Jim Grobe, Jeff Bzdelik and I have traveled to Deacon Club stops in Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte over the past few weeks to meet our many alumni and fans, it has been gratifying to see the outpouring of support for both of these fine coaches. With Coach Grobe, our fans are grateful for the success that he has brought to our football program, with four bowl appearances, an ACC Championship, and high graduation rates. With Coach Bzdelik, everyone is excited about the long term prospects for success that exist within the program with Jeff's leadership.

When we decided to make a change in the leadership of our men's basketball program, we knew the type of person we wanted to attract. We wanted a coach who would produce successful teams on the court, graduate our student-athletes, and who would fit in with the culture of Wake Forest University.

We started with a list of 12 to 15 viable candidates who deserved serious consideration. The caliber of the candidates was outstanding. Many well known and accomplished coaches were very interested in becoming our head coach. The candidates success on the court, their ability to mold young men, their commitment to academic excellence were areas that were thoroughly evaluated. It quickly became apparent that Jeff was highly respected by literally everyone in the college and professional basketball communities. He quickly emerged as our leading candidate. The more Jeff and I talked about the possibility of him leading our program, the more excited I became. His vision for our program is exactly what we all want...excellence in absolutely every area of the program.

Jeff and his staff are off to an excellent start. Jeff hired an outstanding staff as he kept Jeff Battle, Rusty LaRue and Walt Corbean and added Mark Pope, who was an Academic All-American at Kentucky and went on to a seven-year NBA career. The staff has retained all of our recruits and players and has begun establishing the expectations with them that will lead us to much success.

There are many exciting years ahead for us with Jeff as our head coach. Those who have had the opportunity to meet him already recognize the qualities that he brings to our program that will allow us to achieve the lofty goals that we have. We have every reason to be enthused about our future!

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