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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the tag “Charlie Strong”

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.

(Credits: WXII12.com)

(Credits: WXII12.com)

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.

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In 2013, Louisville Again Proves Its Worth

#L1C4(Credits: www.gocards.com)

#L1C4
(Credits: http://www.gocards.com)

If any doubt still existed as to whether the University of Louisville was the right choice for membership into the Atlantic Coast Conference, those doubts were dashed on Saturday, March 16, 2013.

As I watched my beloved Cardinals struggle, persevere and then triumph against the Syracuse Orange in the last Big East Championship title game of the modern era, I couldn’t help but think about all the naysayers and detractors of Belknap’s athletic department as the ACC made its decision in 2012.

Louisville basketball has come a long way, to be sure. We were always the known unknown who entered and left conferences. From the Metro Conference to Conference USA to the Big East Conference, the pride of Louisville proved and proved and proved themselves to fans, outsiders and future conference brass by winning national titles and battling our way into Final Fours. When Rick Pitino was hired as head coach after legend Denny Crum wrapped up his career, fans instantly knew the future was bright and we would give our new coach as much time as he needed.

What we have accomplished as members of the Big East is still unfathomable in my eyes. I’m sure the Villanovas and Syracuses and Georgetowns and Connecticuts chided the decision to add us and others to their ranks and assumed they would continue to dominate the league. No one could have written the memorable storyline the Cardinals have produced since 2005.

Louisville became the winningest program since the realignment of 2005 and has now won its third conference basketball championship. As finalists of the tournament in four of the last five years, the Cardinals have continued to prove their worth on the hardwood.

2013 Big East Champions(Credits: www.bigeast.org)

2013 Big East Champions
(Credits: http://www.bigeast.org)

In football, Louisville has always faced an uphill challenge. Scheduling juggernauts like Alabama, Georgia and Notre Dame had been a difficult feat to claim, and recruiting the best players from around the country has never been our trademark. However, the football Cardinals made it their mission to always be satisfied with the progression of the program and to constantly improve from within.

Having won our two Bowl Championship Series matchups (2006 FedEx Orange Bowl and 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl), we put everything on the field when we are placed on the stage and told to perform.

When Coach Charlie Strong chose to extend his contract at Louisville rather than take the Tennessee job with the Southeastern Conference, fans surrounding the university knew what he thought about his current job and the institution. The sigh of relief throughout the River City came from fans who realized that our time had finally come to keep our coach and strive to maintain and surpass our accomplishments.

Although elevated, it is clear head coach Charlie Strong is not satisfied with the heights of the program under his tutelage. The invitation to the ACC combined with the fashion in which Louisville dealt the Gators the loss in the Sugar Bowl sent the city into overdrive.

Coach Charlie Strong celebrates after the 2013 Sugar Bowl victory(Credits: Getty Images)

Coach Charlie Strong celebrates after the 2013 Sugar Bowl victory
(Credits: Getty Images)

All we ask is for a chance to prove our worth. That is all we have ever wanted, and it appears we will soon get our chance once again in the prestigious ACC in 2014.

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