Category Archives: Wake Forest U

We’re #79!

According to this website Wake Forest University is the 79th most expensive university in the country based on total cost (Tuition + Room and Board + Required Fees). Wake's total for the 2012-13 school year was $54,860. Other notables:

#1 – Sarah Lawrence College ($61,236)
#4 – Columbia University ($58,742)
#7 – Dartmouth University ($57,996)
#9 – University of Chicago ($57,711)
#36 – Boston College ($56,516)
#39 – Georgetown University ($56,362)
#48 – Penn ($56,106)
#53 – Duke University ($55,871)
#67 – Yale ($55,300)
#73 – Brown University ($55,016)
#78 – Notre Dame ($54,905)
#84 – Stanford ($54,508)
#85 – Harvard ($54,496)
#92 – University of Richmond ($53,970)
#98 – University of Miami ($53,102)

Packed House (Not)

Opening paragraphs of an article in today's Wall Street Journal titled "Where Have All the Fans Gone?":

It was the kind of college-basketball game that used to guarantee a packed house.

When North Carolina took the court to play Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., one night last month, it marked the reunion of two storied conference rivals whose campuses are separated by a short drive across the spine of a basketball-crazy state.

Yet when the No. 5 Tar Heels arrived, they found a crowd nearly 2,000 short of capacity. Never mind that Wake is having an off year; it was the lowest turnout for that matchup since Joel Coliseum opened in 1989.

It would be easy to blame the low attendance on Wake's horrific teams these last couple of years, but I think anyone from these parts who was being honest would tell you that in years past a UNC trip to Winston-Salem to scrimmage a high school team would have sold out the Joel. 

The article goes on to posit several possible reasons for the ACC's attendance decline: conference expansion which has diluted traditional rivalries, mediocre teams, low-profile coaches, a "charisma deficit" and the proliferation of cheap HD TVs that make the at-home viewing experience better than ever before. I'd say all of those factors have contributed to the conference's current malaise, but whatever the reasons I'd say ACC basketball seems to have jumped the shark, at least for now. 

The Mind is a Powerful Weapon

Wake Forest's men's basketball team has had a rough couple of years.  Last year was coach Jeff Bzdelik's first year at the helm and he inherited a situation that was challenging to say the least.  I don't care if Wake had hired the love child of Adolph Rupp and Bobby Knight, last year's squad was going to have a losing record and the only question was how bad.  It ended up being VERY bad and as you can imagine Wake fans weren't too happy.  I can recall many a conversation with fellow fans throughout the season who were highly skeptical of the program and of the coach.  My refrain was, and will be for the foreseeable future, that Coach Bzdelik cannot be fairly judged until at least year three of his tenure; it will take that long before he can have his own recruits in place and his system instituted.  

Coming into the current season I think any reasonable fan would say that in order for the team to be considered successful it would need only improve on the number of wins, be competitive in more ACC games and look like an actual team on the court.  So far it's looking good for the Deacons.  As you'd expect with a very young squad the team has been inconsistent, but compared to last year they're a dream to watch.  On the days when they're bad they look like a high school team out there, but they look like a team.  On the days when they're good they look exactly like what they are – a team that is trying to climb the ACC ladder and is a dangerous foe on any given day to all but perhaps UNC and Duke. And yes, they look like a team.

Obviously the jury's still out on Coach Bzdelik's program, but personally I'm liking what I see.  I also think every player and coach in every sport should listen to this blurb from the coach's press conference after his team's win over Virginia Tech last Saturday (found at Dan Collins' excellent My Take on Wake blog). He's spot on about the power of believing in yourself and the mind being a powerful weapon:

Krzyzewski, Izzo, Williams, Larranaga

Winston-Salem Journal sportswriter Dan Collins had a sit down with Wake Forest AD Ron Wellman to discuss the tough (to say the least) season that WFU's basketball program is enduring.  Collins used his blog to share a bunch of the Q&A that couldn't be squeezed into the article that appeared in the paper, and I particularly liked Wellman's answer to the question, "You're well-versed in college basketball. Do you see parallel among cultures of successful programs? In other words, do the teams that keep getting to the Final Four, are there parts of their culture that you see as consistent?…What are those?"

Wellman: 

 First of all they have a great coach. If you look at the Final Four teams for the last six years, and they all do certain things very similar. Mike Krzyzewksi, Brad Stevens, Bob Huggins, Tom Izzo, Roy Williams, Jim Calhoun, Jay Wright, Bill Self, John Calipari, Ben Howland, Billy Donovan, Thad Matta, John Thompson, Jim Larranaga, Bruce Weber, Rick Pitino at Louisville. They’re all really outstanding coaches who have great coaching ability and have great relationships with their players. They’re different relationships with their players. If you look at Bob Huggins and compare him to Tom Izzo or Mike Krzyzewski or Roy Williams, it’s totally different. But it’s a relationship that gets those players to play their hearts out for those coaches. Their attention to detail is beyond anything that you could imagine, to the point where maybe the greatest coach in the history of college basketball – I think we’ve got a couple of great ones in this conference, but I think everyone looks at John Wooden and it would be difficult to argue with that. Remember what he used to do in his first practice? He had the players sit down and he showed them how to put their socks on. My goodness. You talk about attention to detail. Jeff is doing a good job with those types of details. You look at our team today, there’s a certain way he wants them to wear their uniform. How important can that be? It’s very important, because that’s what he believes in. How important is it for us to conduct ourselves in a certain way on the floor? Remember J.T. the first three he made in one of the first games? And there was quite a celebration by J.T. when he did. J.T. isn’t doing that anymore. Jeff’s idea, and strong suggestion to the players, to get out of yourself and into the team, or into your teammates is becoming evident. It’s more and more evident every practice and every game. So those types of details are going to be the building blocks of this program. They’re important. To some they might be `That’s incidental. That isn’t important.’ But we think it’s important. Jeff thinks it’s important. That’s why those details are being covered on a daily basis. (Emphasis mine).

I think Wellman makes a great point with the quote, but I also think wanted to highlight that one of the coaches he mentions is George Mason's Jim Larranaga.  Mason's only made one Final Four but I'd argue that Larranaga's built one of the better programs you'll find at a "mid-major" school and I think it's high praise for him to be included in Wellman's list of coaches who have built a great culture.  

Also for what it's worth, and that ain't much, I'm much less pessimistic about Wake's medium and distant future than other fans seem to be. The next couple of years probably won't be great, but I do think that if they can keep the current crop of kids around through graduation and add one or two strong recruits the program could be back in the top half of the ACC in three or four years.

Here's a fun fact for you: the season that Mason made the Final Four (beating Michigan State and UNC on the way) they lost in overtime at Wake Forest.  

What do Wake Forest University and a nightclub in Greensboro have in common?

If my parents, proud alums of Wake Forest University, have any idea what the hell Jersey Shore is then they'll be mortified by this announcement:

Nicole Polizzi, aka "Snooki," will soon make an appearance at Wake Forest University.

Snooki is scheduled to appear at the school's Wait Chapel at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 28, said a spokesperson with the school in a news release.

It's one thing for a nightclub in Greensboro to welcome the latest village idiot who's gained a few minutes of fame in this country, but for a school trying to be mentioned in the same breath as Duke or Rice I think this is a little suspect.  Don't believe me?  Well hell, you'll just have to watch a part of one episode (it won't take long, believe me) because I can't possibly write a paragraph that adequately describes the depravity of the show.

I know it's the school's Student Union that's invited her to appear, and when I was in school my taste ran towards stupid crap like this too, but I just can't fathom why the school is putting out a news release promoting this whole thing.  If I was an administrator I'd be trying to bury this story as deep as I could dig.

ATP Tour Event Moving to Winston-Salem!

I'm a huge tennis fan so you can imagine my excitement when I read this morning that the ATP is moving a tournament from New Haven, CT to Winston-Salem.  I'd heard rumors that it might happen, but now that it's a reality I'm absolutely stoked.  I haven't heard any details yet, but I'm willing to bet a serious chunk of change that Don Flow was involved with this and if that's the case all I can say is "Thanks Mr. Flow!'

Update: Just did a little research to confirm what I thought I remembered, which is that the New Haven tournament has traditionally been a warm up for the US Open, played the week before the Open starts.  We won't likely see the Federers or Nadals of the tour, but usually it attracts its fair share of top-50 players like Baghdatis, Gonzalez, Robredo, etc. Even better, it has a doubles draw.  Did I mention that I'm really stoked?

Think You Volunteer a Lot of Your Time?

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has benefited from the services of a world record setting volunteer.  According to this article a fellow named Don Moss has volunteered over 47,000 hours of his time to WFUBMC since 1982 and has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for his efforts.

If WFUBMC had paid Mr. Moss $5 an hour then it would have cost them $235,000.  I picked $5/hour because it's a nice round number that makes it easy to do the math and kind of the middle range of the minimum wage from 1982 until now.

For Those Who Still Think All Blogs and Twitter Feeds Are About Cats and BM

As reported by the Triad Business Journal the Wake Forest MBA program's student run blog and related Twitter feed have been recognized as a "must follow" by TopMBA.com

Five years into this whole blog experiment thing and I still feel the need to justify my existence.  I never knew I was so insecure.

Gaudio Stepping Down (Found via Twitter?!)

Just saw a Tweet from WXII that Wake Forest head basketball coach Dino Gaudio is stepping down.  Supposedly there's a 4:30 press conference today so I guess we'll know more at 4:35.

Update 2: The Journal's Wake Forest beat reporter Dan Collins blogged it.

Update: Now WXII site is saying Gaudio was fired