Billboard Demands Removal of Wake Forest Coach, AD
We all have a pet project that consumes our time and money. Some of us take it too far and wind up ignoring our significant others or forgetting meaningful moments in our lives. However, some us take it a little further.
Yahoo! Sports is reporting that a new roadside sight along U.S. 52 near Winston-Salem is showing just how far some fans will go to vent their frustrations about college athletics. According to The Dagger’s Jeff Eisenberg, a group of Wake Forest University fans have spent a load of money to erect a billboard blasting men’s basketball head coach Jeff Bzdelik and athletic director Ron Wellman’s performance at the school.
Wow. Talk about not holding back. Tell me what you really think, Wake fans.
WXII12.com is reporting the group of fans raised over $4,500 to fulfill their wish of bringing more public attention to the disaster the basketball program has become under Bzdelik and Wellman’s watch. But the billboard is only the next chapter of their group’s efforts – they’ve also taken out newspaper ads and created websites like firebz.com.
Among other notables, the website keeps a rolling tally of the basketball team’s ventures – the Demon Deacons are 34-60 overall and 11-42 against ACC opponents under Bzdelik.
One Wake Forest fan who hasn’t disguised his displeasure with the basketball program is Fire Jeff Bzdelik Group fan Brian Stratton. Stratton is on record as saying the billboard was a necessary step to take because the fanbase has been alienated by the athletic director’s actions. He also took to Facebook to further explain the erection of the billboard.
“All would have been forgiven had [Wellman] done the right thing and fired Bzdelik at the end of the year,” Stratton wrote via the popular social media site. “However, he boxed us into a corner and we had to take the next step. Ron Wellman has clearly brought this on himself and needs to be relieved of his duties.”
Although this recent news is fascinating, fans weren’t too keen on Bzdelik’s hire even in 2010. He was chosen by Wellman after going 36-58 at Colorado after three seasons and never ended a Big 12 season ranked higher than eighth in the conference standings.
As a Louisville graduate, I can certainly identify with fan malcontent over a sports coach who hasn’t performed. The Steve Kragthorpe Era at UofL really tested the Cardinal fanbase. Of course, our athletic director realized the error in his ways and put into motion the process of replacing him with up-and-coming star Charlie Strong.
No one wants a cloud of negativity to surround an athletic program for too long. Wake’s brass leadership may wake up one day soon and realize that Bzdelik and perhaps Wellman have to go, if not for the athletic program, for the university image and relationship with fans and alumni.
Demon Deacon fans, you simply have to believe that better things will come. The one thing Wellman can do to revive your trust is to make a stellar choice as the next head coach to lead Wake back to relevance.
And we wait.
Wake Forest was once a proud basketball program. If they cannot thrive on the gridiron (and the odds are that they cannot), they need to carry their weight on the hard court. The slippery slope from being relevant to a DePaul (do people under 30 remember how good a program DePaul once was?) is fast.
Wake Forest has a basketball program?
Time Duncan isn’t walking through that locker room door.
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