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Ron Wellman, the dean of athletics directors in the Atlantic Coast Conference, has elevated the Wake Forest University athletics program to its greatest level in school history. Since being named to the position in October, 1992, he has helped lead Wake Forest's teams to unprecedented success both on the field and off.
Under Wellman's leadership, Wake Forest has won four national championships and 16 Atlantic Coast Conference championships and finished 23rd in the 2007 NACDA Director's Cup standings, its highest finish ever.
Wellman is only the fifth person to assume the top position in the athletic department at Wake Forest during the modern era of intercollegiate sports, following Pat Preston, Jim Weaver, Bill Gibson and Dr. Gene Hooks, Wake Forest's athletic director from 1964 through 1992.
Entering his 21st year in 2012-13, Wellman has played a large role in the shaping of intercollegiate athletics on a regional and national level. A member of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship committee, he has previously chaired both the NCAA Division I Management Council and the NCAA Baseball Committee. Wellman is a former president of the Division I-A Athletic Directors' Association and has served on the NCAA Diversity Leadership Strategic Planning Committee and chaired the NCAA Baseball Academic Enhancement Committee. He will chair the Men's Basketball Championship committee in 2013-14.
In 2011-12, Wellman saw the Wake Forest women's soccer program advance to its first-ever College Cup. Six Demon Deacon squads advanced to postseason play, and three teams were ranked in the top 25 nationally.
Wake Forest athletics has never been more prominent on the national scene than it has in recent years. The football program has made four bowl appearances in the past six seasons, while the men's basketball program has earned an NCAA Tournament berth twice in the past four years.
The men's soccer program has been to four of the past six College Cups, while field hockey has appeared in nine Final Fours in the last 12 years. The men's and women's golf programs are perennial postseason contenders, with the women winning back-to-back ACC titles in 2009 and 2010. Both the men's and women's tennis teams have been ranked among the top teams in the country over the last several seasons.
Those accomplishments came on the heels of unprecedented success across the board in 2006-07. Wake Forest finished 23rd in the NACDA Director's Cup, which awards points based on each schools' performance on the field. The finish was the highest ever for the Deacons.
Wellman's efforts in leading Wake Forest's rise to prominence have not gone unnoticed. In 2007-08, he was honored by two organizations. Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal named him College Athletic Director of the Year. The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) selected Wellman as its AstroTurf AD of the Year for the Southeast Region--the second time in his career he has received that honor.
Off the playing fields, Wellman has spearheaded an effort to enhance the overall development of the student-athlete. He asks his coaches to stress academics, and he has instituted programs to assist and develop student-athletes away from competition such as the CHAMPS-Life Skills Program which helps prepare student-athletes for life after college.
Another obvious sign of the progress Wake Forest has made -- and is continuing to make -- under Wellman's leadership is the ambitious facility improvement program that the athletic department has undertaken.
The football stadium, BB&T Field, continues to receive multiple phases of cosmetic and structural changes. Recent upgrades to the facility have included the construction of Deacon Tower, the addition of a brick facade to the interior of the stands, the installation of a new FieldTurf surface and most recently the construction of a state-of-the-art videoboard on the south side of the stadium.
Deacon Tower, which opened to rave reviews in August of 2008, was the result of an aggressive fund-raising campaign, coupled with generous donations of supporters. The facility offers a number of premium seating options, accommodations for the media as well as a main entry point for the stadium.
The University acquired Wake Forest Baseball Park in 2008 and has made numerous improvements including the construction of an indoor batting center and installation of an FieldTurf playing surface that will allow year-round play. A new video board was erected prior to the 2012 season.
Wellman has also led University efforts in the construction of a new outdoor tennis facility, which serves as the home to both of the Wake Forest tennis programs as well as the ATP's Winston-Salem Open.
Born in Celina, Ohio, Wellman earned his undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University, where he was a pitcher on the baseball team.
After receiving a master's from Bowling Green, he joined the faculty and coaching staff at Elmhurst (IL) College in 1971, serving as head baseball coach, assistant basketball and football coach and associate professor of health and physical education.
He compiled a 210-136 record in baseball before leaving to become the head baseball coach at Northwestern University. In five seasons with the Wildcats, Wellman's teams posted a 180-97 record and 15 players signed professional contracts. Among those moving to the Major Leagues was Joe Girardi, an Academic All-America catcher who became the manager of the New York Yankees in 2007.
Wellman and his wife Linda have three daughters -- Angie, who works with the Executive Partners Mentorship Program in the WFU Schools of Business and is married to Tim Lynde, a Wake Forest alumnus and former basketball manager who is with IMG in Winston-Salem; Nicole, a pediatrician, and her husband, Kevin Rice, a former captain of WFU's men's soccer team, who live in Winston-Salem; and Melissa, a teacher, and her husband, Ben Norman, an attorney, who live in Greensboro.
The Wellmans have seven grandchildren: Connor, 5, Riley, 3, and McKay (6 months) (Angie & Tim); Cole, 6, and Sam, 4, (Nicole & Kevin); and Miller, 3, and Emme (9 months) (Melissa & Ben).