Incoming Freshmen Introduced to Wake Forest Athletics
Coach Bzdelik speaks to 43 incoming freshmen.

Aug. 29, 2011

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By Krista Brown, WakeForestSports.com

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Forty-three Wake Forest freshmen got their first look inside the Wake Forest Athletic Department on Thursday. The tour, which included trips to Kentner Stadium, Deacon Tower, BB&T Field, Spry Stadium, and Gene Hooks Field, concluded a four-day freshman enrichment program named Deacon Camp.

Deacon Camp, which is in its inaugural year, has toured Old Salem, the Reynolda House, Downtown Winston-Salem, and even took a trip to the Old Campus in Wake Forest, NC. Associate Dean of Campus Life Mike Ford believes that the four-day program will give the students the chance to learn the Wake Forest way of life before classes begin next week.

"This camp has been a vision for several of us in Student Life for several years because we really feel like it's a way for first-year students to immerse themselves in the Wake Forest culture," said Ford. "The past, the present, and the future."

Upperclassmen also embraced the idea of the Deacon Camp.

"I really wish they had this my freshman year," said junior mentor, Tre Easton, "It really instills the whole history and tradition. The true spirit of Wake Forest."

The Wake Forest Athletic Department made it a priority to become a part of Deacon Camp so they could interact with the freshmen who will be supporting all of the athletic teams over the next four years.

"We've had a disconnect with our students in the past," said Director of Sports Marketing Nicole Jones. "So hopefully getting these 43 students to get excited, then hopefully they can get their friends excited. It's best to get them when they're freshmen."

Students also received messages from several head coaches, including head football coach Jim Grobe, head men's basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik, head field hockey coach Jen Averill, and head women's basketball coach Mike Petersen. Grobe and Bzdelik focused on how support from the student body could positively impact the athletic teams while Averill and Petersen spoke more about being successful in the classroom. Averill stressed the importance of leaving a positive "footprint" and exemplifying "quality" while at Wake Forest.

Alumnus and basketball great, Randolph Childress, who led the Demon Deacons to the 1995 ACC Championship and is now the assistant to the athletic director, also made an appearance. He emphasized that the freshmen should try to socialize with the freshmen student-athletes who may live in their dorms or share the same classes because these freshmen don't have the chance to participate in these orientation programs because of their athletic commitments. Childress believes that fellow student support off the field could also be beneficial for student athletes.

Men's soccer head coach Jay Vidovich also took the time to speak with Deacon Camp participants at Spry Stadium and distributed vouchers reedemable for Wake Forest soccer scarves.

Administrators explained how the freshmen can get involved in several fan initiatives supported by the athletic department, such as the Screamin' Demons, the Deacon Cup, as well as tailgating at athletic events. There was also a session dedicated to learning the school fight song.

Freshmen camp participants Caroline Wayco and Catherine Watts both expressed excitement for all of the upcoming seasons and had plans of joining the Screamin' Deacons.

"This has definitely made me feel really excited for the coming seasons," said Watts, "I'm just really excited for everything coming up."

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