Thursday, March 20th was a very important day in the life of a Wake Forest Demon Deacon fan as it marked the end of Jeff Bzdelik's four-year tenure as the head coach of Wake Forest's basketball team. It's now March 24th, and while we do not know who the new coach will be, there is no doubt that there is great energy surrounding the basketball and football programs after the changes in leadership over the past four months.
Dave Clawson has started a new era of Wake Forest football, and while his teams have yet to gain a single yard, the momentum the program is gaining is tremendous. Clawson assembled a fantastic staff and finished the recruiting season very strong. Seven of the top eight prospects, according to 247Sports, committed after Clawson was announced as our head coach. The current players seem to have a renewed sense of enthusiasm and high school prospects seem genuinely excited to announce to the world via Twitter that Wake Forest University has offered them a football scholarship.
This year's football team might not even be that good. After all, the team lost a four-year starting quarterback in Tanner Price, the school's all-time leader in receptions in Michael Campanaro, and all three of the starting defensive linemen among others. But that's okay because the fan base believes in the new leadership because Clawson has won everywhere he has been. The fans will give the man time and there is great hope and belief that Clawson will elevate this program to be a consistent winner.
Jeff Bzdelik's tenure at Wake Forest caused a lot of backlash from fans to say the least. Protests ranged from newspaper advertisements, to websites, to billboards, and finally to "rolling the quad" in celebration of his resignation. As a staff at Blogger So Dear and as a basketball program, we are no longer going to be addressing those issues. Those moments are in the past and we are only looking to the future, which should bring us great fan experiences. The fan base was united towards the end of Bzdelik's tenure, but not for reasons that we would have liked. As a fan base we want to rally around a coach to help revitalize our basketball program and I believe the fans will do that when an announcement is made. There are even plans of another infamous billboard, but this time it will be welcoming the new coach to town.
The new coach will have some positive pieces to build around, especially from the junior class. Codi Miller-McIntyre and Devin Thomas are both two-year starters and lead the seven-man class. Tyler Cavanaugh and Arnaud William Adala Moto (Bill Moto) both improved greatly this season. When you combine that with Greg McClinton's debut as well as Shelton Mitchell's, there will be some pieces to build around. I'm not making any predictions for this season, but I'm excited to see what a new coach can do with those players.
The fan base has been begging for fresh energy for some time and now that we have it we need to embrace it. I think as a fan base we should just agree to put the past four years behind us and embrace the future. The results may not immediately show up on the field and the court, but I can sense that our future is bright. Onward and upward! Go Deacs!