Jeff Bzdelik is 20-39 in two seasons at Wake Forest and has won just four ACC games. That kind of record might scare off many ACC athletic directors. Not Ron Wellman.
“He’s building a great program,” Wellman told the Winston-Salem Journal. “A lot of people can’t see that now, but he’s doing everything that needs to be done to have a great sustainable program.
“So I couldn’t be more excited about our future.”
No, that’s not the dreaded “vote of confidence” that hints at a future firing. Wellman believes, despite the Deacons losing 10 ACC games this season by an average of 18 points, not to mention last season’s debacle. He says Bzdelik’s made some “tough choices” but it’s all for the betterment of the program.
Four players expected to be cornerstones of the program – Tony Woods, Ari Stewart, J.T. Terrell and Melvin Tabb – aren’t around, either because of dismissals or transfers. That’s a large reason why Wake’s been so bad. (And, as the paper notes, Bzdelik isn’t the only Wake coach who struggled his first two seasons.)
A decent recruiting class is coming in. The Decons have slowly improved from last season (though not by much) and it’s not as if the rest of the ACC is that far ahead. Maryland, Miami, Boston College, Georgia Tech and N.C. State all have first-year coaches.
Still. This was an NCAA tournament team when Dino Gaudio got fired. It’s not even close to it now. Probably not next season, either. Wellman’s a patient man. Perhaps he remembers that another ACC AD also was patient with his new head coach about 30 years ago. If Wake gets anything close to that, it’ll all be worth it.
But that day’s a long way away.
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