Following Wake's 84-55 loss to Pittsburgh in the second round of the ACC tournament last Thursday, the number one topic of discussion for many Wake fans has been the future of Jeff Bzdelik. Widely vilified throughout his four years in Winston-Salem, Bzdelik's four-year record with the Demon Deacons sits at a paltry 51-76, including a horrific 17-51 record in conference play.
While the general consensus is that Bzdelik will not return for his fifth season, the situation is further complicated by Athletic Director Ron Wellman's absence from Winston-Salem due to duties corresponding with his responsibility as the head of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. Wellman, who was sequestered in Indianapolis for the better part of the previous week, remained in Dayton on Tuesday night for the opening two games of the NCAA Tournament.
Sources close to the situation have intimated that a press conference will likely occur either towards the end of the week when the main portion of the tournament kicks off, or early next week to disclose Wellman's future plans for the basketball program. Rumors were afloat from several different sources articulating the belief that Bzdelik told the team following a home loss to Boston College that he would not be returning for the 2014-15 season. These rumors remain just that though as attempts to verify this information have been generally fruitless.
Only compounding this general confusion, journalist and sportswriter John Feinstein reported on his Tuesday afternoon radio show that reliable sources told him that Jeff Bzdelik would not be fired by Wake Forest, but rather two assistant coaches would get the ax instead. The current assistant coaches on staff are veteran Jeff Battle along with two former Wake Forest players in Rusty LaRue and Randolph Childress.
Beyond Feinstein's proclamation on Tuesday, there has been relative media silence regarding the Bzdelik decision. Wake fans are hungry for success after four years of wandering in the basketball wasteland without a single postseason tournament appearance and they long for a return to the success found under former coaches Dave Odom and the late Skip Prosser.
Wellman's absence this past week was foreseen throughout the season as he was selected to serve as the committee chair well before it was made clear that a decision would need to be made about Jeff Bzdelik. With both Virginia Tech and Boston College relieving their respective coaches of their duties, Wake Forest remains alone with Georgia Tech as the only ACC schools left to make a decision about their current staff. While Wellman's timing is unfortunate, it's somewhat understandable that he would not be around to make an announcement early this week as he would be preoccupied in Dayton with tournament duties.
Wellman has shown a proclivity to wait until he was close to filling the position to make the position officially vacant in the past, but it remains unclear why this is necessary. Yes, the media criticized N.C. State a few years back when the coaching position was vacant for nearly a month, but they ultimately got their guy and are back on the right track with yetr another NCAA tournament berth. Wake fans on the other hand are rightfully antsy over whether or not Bzdelik will be fired at all and it shows as nearly every conversation in person and on the message boards over the past week has been about when Bzdelik will be relieved of his duties. Many fans remain skeptical that Wellman is ready to admit his mistake in hiring Bzdelik and move on to the next coach.
We do not have any concrete answers here at Blogger So Dear as Wellman has played this close to the vest in his usual style. If Feinstein's sources are correct and Wellman will simply be firing assistant coaches while leaving the head coach untouched, I would anticipate a negative reaction by the more vocal sections of the Wake fan base unlike any we have yet to see.
Nobody knows for sure what the next few days hold, but for all the latest information stay tuned to Blogger So Dear as we will have the coverage regardless of what decision Wellman makes.