Here is the tenth portion of my ongoing series looking at Wake sports under Ron Wellman. To recap: I'm looking at the past 21 seasons and comparing them to the previous decade to determine how the Wake programs have progressed/regressed under our current athletic director, so that we can better sing his praises/call for his head on a platter.
Obviously, today we're looking at the health of the women's golf program.
***** Index *****
***** Program Overview *****
Its blind resume comparison time again! Some of these numbers may look familiar, but this time, we're looking at who has been the best coach under Wellman (there is a fifth candidate on whom I haven't run the numbers on yet, so I'm limiting it to these four for right now):
Coach A: .630 overall winning percentage (.510 conference); +1.64 wins against expected per season (+1.623 conference)
Coach B: .696 overall winning percentage (.464 conference); +2.769 wins against expected per season (+0.976 conference)
Coach C: .675 overall winning percentage (.577 conference); +2.407 wins against expected per season (+1.755 conference)
Coach D: .678 overall winning percentage (.718 conference); +2.56 wins against expected per season (+1.085 conference)
Personally, I would put Coach B ahead of Coaches C and D by a nose, with Coach A coming in fourth (somebody's got to), but it wouldn't surprise me if your valuation differs on account of the differences in conference performance (which can be used to bump either Coach C or Coach D, depending on whether you use the raw percentage or the wins against expected stat).
Coach A is women's soccer coach Tony da Luz; Coach B is field hockey coach Jen Averill; Coach C is men's soccer coach Jay Vidovich.
Coach D is women's golf coach Dianne Dailey, who has helmed the program since the 1988-89 season and is the longest-tenured Wake coach. Under Dailey, the Deacs have won four ACC Championships (1993-94, 1994-95, 2008-09, 2009-10), which doesn't seem too impressive until you realize that Duke has the best women's golf program in the country and has won 19 of the 26 ACC titles (Wake has finished runner-up to the Blue Devils 10 of those 19 times). The Deacs also won the 1985-86 title under coach Mary Beth McGirr.
(By the way, get used to that "runner-up to Duke" thing before women's tennis. That seems to be a thing for us.)
The Deacs have produced first-team all-Americans Brenda Corrie (1986), Stephanie Neill (1993-95), Laura Philo (1996-97), and Ashley Hoagland (2005), as well as numerous other all-ACC players.
Dailey has also led the Deacs to a third place finish in the NCAA Championships in 1994-95.
In short, while the women's team hasn't had the same national success as the men's team, it has still been a strong program, as you will see. Like the men's program, it has suffered a downswing somewhat recently, but I think Dailey deserves a pretty long leash given her considerable coaching accolades.
***** Notes on Methodology *****
Hoooooo boy... where to start...
Women's golf is the fourth sport covered that uses meets rather than individual games. Therefore, I will be handling it similarly to the cross country and men's golf programs: the team's place in the meet determines it's "win-loss record" for that meet. For example, a 7th place finish in an 11 team meet would be 4 wins (over teams finishing 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th) and 6 losses (against teams finishing 1st through 6th), which would translate to a winning percentage of .400.
In the event of ties, I have assumed one team to be tied (for simplicity's sake). Ties count as half a win. A tie for 7th place in that 11 team meet would be 3.5 wins and 6.5 losses, for a winning percentage of 350.
Now, that's easy. Here's where things get complicated...
When evaluating the men's golf team, I could use the NCAA Championship or NCAA Regional as a semi-constant to evaluate. I can't do that for the women's team. Instead, I've used the Lady Tar Heel Invitational, which Wake has played every year since 1983-84 (which is far back as the Wake online records go). Unfortunately, the number of teams participating is missing in 1984, 1985, and 2001, so I guessed Wake's approximate place based on the number of teams participating in the surrounding years, overall season performance compared to surrounding seasons, and score relative to the winning score.
I have also used the ACC Championships to calculate conference play, which existed from 1984-1986, then stopped, then started again in 1992. In the interim, Wake played in the Women's Southern Intercollegiate Championship as a proxy for the ACC Championship, so I have counted that instead. HOWEVER, Wake didn't play that event in 1989, so I took the final major event that Wake played - the Duke Spring Invitational - and used it for the conference record instead.
Yes, it's complicated, and no, it's nowhere near precise. But having spent far too much time on Google trying to parse these things out, I feel confident in saying that if you're unhappy with this column, you're welcome to a full refund.
First thing's first: the silver vertical line represents the changeover from Gene Hooks' tenure as athletic director and Ron Wellman's tenure as athletic director. The data to the left of this line represents the foundation for the horizontal yellow line (the 10 years in question generated a .558 winning percentage).
Now that that's settled, let's... oh dang. That's a lot of really high numbers. Like... a LOT of really high numbers.
In Wellman's 21 years, the Deacs have put up winning percentages at or above .750 eight different seasons, including three seasons where the Deacs won both the Tar Heel Invitational and the ACC Championships for a perfect 1.000 percentage (1993-94, 1994-95, 2008-09). In total, 15 of the 21 years finished above the .558 line, which is pretty darn good.
With that said, like the men's program, the women's results have fallen on hard times in the past few years. The nadir was a 4-21 (.160) record in 2012-13. While this is more than likely just a random blip, it's perhaps maybe a small sign of concern in an otherwise giant ocean of awesomeness.
That's... that's a lot of big numbers too.
You can see the five ACC titles in question (1986, 1994, 1995, 2009, 2010), and the runner up finishes constitute a lot of those other high data points. These conference graphs are probably the favorite I've made thus far for this project, because even with the recent slide that's a whole lotta winning. Me likey.
I guess you can also note that Wake went from last to first in two years in the early 90's as well.
Here's the four year overall average graph, and you can see both of the defined peaks (roughly 1994-95 through 1998-99 and 2006-07 through 2011-12), as well as the minor dip in between. When you can describe a period as a "dip" and your four year average stays healthily above your historic average, then that's a pretty good sign that your program is in a good place.
Minor dip in the late 90's aside (which is solely due to a .333 percentage in 1998-99 replacing a 1.000 season in the calculus; every other year is .625 or higher during the Wellman years until the recent slide), that's a whole mess of high numbers. NINE different 4 year periods (given some overlap) have a cumulative winning percentage above .800, and the lowest from 2002-03 through 2011-12 was .774.
If you go back up to that random blind coach resume thing I did earlier, you can pretty much see why Dailey's conference winning percentage is a gajillion miles ahead the others'.
Here are the cumulative winning percentage graphs under Wellman:
Oh no! The sky is falling! Our winning percentage has decreased nearly constantly since Wellman took over!
Looking at these graphs is like watching the Spurs offense last night. Sure their shooting percentage came down in the second quarter, but who cares? They put up a mind-numbingly good stretch of offense and hit a patch of regression to the mean; they still put up 55 points in about 16 minutes of basketball - who cares if they "only" scored 16 points in the next 8 minutes? The end result is still amazing.
So yeah, zero complaints from me. Even though the Deacs haven't sustained the incredibly high marks established in the first Wellman years, the overall winning percentage of .678 and the conference winning percentage of .718 are still fantastic, with both well above the historical standard.
And oh by the way, the conference mark is far and away the highest mark covered thus far (field hockey has the highest overall winning percentage at .696; the best conference mark in any other sport is men's soccer at .564).
So yeah, there's a legitimate argument to be made that women's golf - not men's soccer or field hockey - is the most successful Wake sport in the past 21 years. And if you restrict the argument just to conference performance, then I don't think there's actually too much to be said to the contrary.
... Maybe men's soccer. Maybe.
As you'd expect, the wins against expected graph looks pretty nice. (If you haven't figured it out, this graph basically exists as a chart of the collective area under the year by year results graph. You could come close to deriving it if you knew the exact formula for that function, but you can't, because year-to-year results are schizophrenic.)
Dailey has accumulated +60.7 wins in her 26 seasons, of which +53.8 has come under Wellman. Her personal peak actually would be slightly off this chart at 73.7 after 2012; similarly, the Wellman era's highest mark is at 66.8 at the same time.
The conference numbers are significantly lower, mostly on account of not having a ton of teams in which to beat. The ACC only had 4 women's golf teams up until 1999, then gradually expanded up to 9 by 2006. Considering the omnipresence of Duke's program, accumulating any positive numbers required finishing runner-up in about half the seasons in question.
Still, Dailey's accumulated 24.2 personally, of which 22.8 has come under Wellman. The peak was again in 2012, at 28.8 for Dailey and 27.4 for the Wellman era.
***** Summation *****
Proj. Record: 323.6-256.4 (91.8-80.2)
Actual Record: 384.5-195.5 (116-56)
Net: +60.7 (+24.2)
Proj. Record Under Wellman: 251.1-198.9 (66.2-57.8)
Actual Record Under Wellman: 305-145 (89-35)
Net: +53.8 (+22.8)
***** Analysis *****
***** Running Total *****
Football: -6.4 (+2.9) --> -25.8 (+17.3)
Volleyball: +20.9 (+40.8) --> +36.9 (+124.4)
Men's Soccer: +46.5 (+34.6) --> +109.7 (+233.8)
Women's Soccer: +51.3 (+28.9) --> +119.6 (+169.0)
Men's Cross Country: -9.5 (-9.5) --> -48.4 (-48.4)
Women's Cross Country: +17.3 (+17.3) --> +86.6 (+86.6)
Field Hockey: +58.1 (+20.5) --> +131.0 (+164.0)
Men's Basketball: +61.0 (+55.7) --> +91.3 (+163.8)
Women's Basketball: -61.2 (-18.2) --> -99.4 (-56.2)
Men's Golf: -23.5 (-31.8) --> -37.5 (-169.1)
Women's Golf: +53.8 (+22.8) --> +119.6 (+183.9)
Total: +483.6 (+869.1)
Total: +969.0 (+1935.0)
With the finish line nearly in sight, it seems appropriate to cover the men's and women's track programs next. It should be up either very late tonight or tomorrow prior to the World Cup kickoff in the afternoon.
As always, thanks for reading!