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During Ron Wellman's 21-year tenure as athletics director at Wake Forest University, the school's athletic facilities and fortunes have moved in a positive direction. Under Wellman's direction, Wake Forest has made drastic improvements to BB&T Field including the construction of Deacon Tower. The school has also constructed the Wake Forest Tennis Center and the Arnold Palmer Golf complex while also acquiring Wake Forest Baseball Park and, most recently, the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
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's teams to unprecedented success both on the field and off.
Under Wellman's leadership, Wake Forest has won four national championships and 17 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 22nd year in 2013-14, Wellman has played a large role in the shaping of intercollegiate athletics on a regional and national level. The chairman of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship committee in 2013-14, 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.
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 seven seasons, while the men's basketball program has earned a postseason invitation in 18 of the last 23 seasons.
The men's soccer program has been to four of the past seven College Cups, while field hockey has appeared in nine Final Fours in the last 13 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. The men's tennis team was ranked among the top teams in the country in 2013.
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 also led the 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. Wellman was the director of athletics his last five years at Elmhurst.
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 an associate commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference; Nicole, a pediatrician, and her husband, Kevin Rice, a Greensboro firefighter and former captin of WFU's men's soccer team, who live in Winston-Salem; and Melissa, founder and director of GirlCHARGE, and her husband, Ben Norman, an attorney, who live in Greensboro.
The Wellmans have eight grandchildren including Connor, 6, Riley, 4, and McKayla, 1. (Angie & Tim) and Cole, 7, Sam, 5 and Anna Kate (born March 2013), (Nicole & Kevin) and granddaughters Miller, 4, and Emme, 1 (Melissa & Ben).