April 28, 2011
This article was originally published in the April 9 edition of Gold Rush.
In each issue, "Where Are They Now" features former Wake Forest student-athletes. This issue highlights former men's track and cross country student-athlete, Rob Raisbeck, Jr.
During his career at Wake Forest, he placed 5th in the 1500-meter at the 1985 ACC outdoor track championships, captured 3rd in the 1500-meter heat at the Tennessee/Dogwood Relays in 1985, and set a personal best in the 800 meters in the North Carolina TAC Development meet in May 1984 with a time of 1:52.4.
Today, Raisbeck continues to stay involved with the program by serving as the public address announcer for all of Wake Forest's home meets.
When did you graduate from Wake Forest?
I graduated in 1985 then took a year off and returned to Wake Law School. I graduated from the Law School in 1989.
What was your major?
I was a history major and also had a minor in politics.
What does being a Demon Deacon mean to you?
Being a Demon Deacon means being a part of a family with shared experiences. My friends and co-workers who attended different schools can't appreciate the unique bond that we have.
Why are you still involved in Wake Forest Athletics?
When I first enrolled at Wake in the fall of 1981, I was part of perhaps the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation for cross country. Up until that time, Wake Forest had a dismal history in track and cross country. But Wake hired a new coach (Ramsay Thomas) who was very charismatic, and he sold us on building a winning program and establishing a new tradition of excellence. We didn't achieve all of our goals, but we did lay a foundation on which subsequent classes built upon. For about a dozen years beginning in the late 1980s, Wake Forest established itself as a dominant power in the ACC and also had great success nationally in cross country. Since we first built our track stadium and started hosting track meets in 1990, I have been the PA announcer for all of our home meets including the two times we hosted the ACC Track Championships. My continued involvement with the track program in this capacity allows me, in a very small way, to contribute to the ongoing success of a program for which I once competed.
Why do you feel it is important to give back to the University?
It would have been difficult for me to afford to attend Wake Forest without the benefit of an athletic scholarship. And this is when tuition was a fraction of what it is now. Much of what I have achieved in life is a result of my decision to attend Wake Forest. I want others to have the same opportunities I have had to attend such a wonderful institution. I basically moved here from my home in Maryland where I grew up and decided to stay. I went to Law School at Wake Forest and joined a local firm in Mocksville just a half hour away. I met my future wife here and have two wonderful children who also love Wake Forest. I give back because, without this University, my life would bear little resemblance to what it is now.
What is your current occupation?
I am an attorney in private practice with the firm Martin & VanHoy in Davie County. My practice involves mostly criminal defense and family law.
What is your favorite memory of your time at Wake Forest?
I have a lot of great memories of my time at Wake. Not surprisingly most involve my participation with the track and cross country program. In the fall of 1982, we defeated UNC in a dual meet on their home course. I am told it was the first time Wake Forest had ever beaten Carolina in cross country. In the spring of 1984, the team was at the Georgia Relays and we were staying in a tiny rundown hotel. That was the night the basketball team beat DePaul in the NCAA Tournament. Immediately after the game a bunch of us grabbed all the toilet paper we could find and ran outside to roll the one tree in the courtyard. That was quite a sight.
What makes you most proud of Wake Forest?
There is so much to be proud of, but two things stand out. Number one has to be the refusal to compromise principles regarding competing in athletics and being careful about who we allow to represent us. Some schools claim to do things the "right" way but Wake Forest actually walks the walk. And second is the way the Wake family comes together at times to experience significant events. One of the proudest moments I have ever had was attending the Orange Bowl and watching the football team take the field. And then joining nearly all of our fans in giving the team a standing ovation when they came to our end of the stadium after the game ended.
When you come back to Wake Forest, you always...
When I come back to campus, I usually take a slow walk around the Quad and then walk over to the track stadium and remember the days before we had the beautiful facility we have now.
I was there when...
I was in Wait Chapel watching the 1988 presidential debate having gotten a ticket from a friend who worked for a New York Congressman. I was in Annapolis in November 1989 when the greatest men's cross country team in ACC history placed 3rd at the NCAA championships. I had graduated from law school but had not yet started my real job as a lawyer. I was the assistant coach of that team. And I was in Greensboro in March 1995 to witness Randolph make "the shot."
Who is your favorite coach at Wake Forest, current or past?
My favorite coach is former track and cross country coach John Goodridge. He was my coach my senior year and he continued to coach me until I quit competing in 1990. During a 12-year span, our men's cross country team won four ACC titles and placed second the remaining eight years. There are very few coaches in Wake Forest history with that level of consistent success.