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Danny Manning vs. Jeff Bzdelik: A Deeper Look into the Two Coaches’ Time at Wake Forest

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What do the stats say about how they compare?

NBA: Houston Rockets at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Wake Forest basketball is coming off of yet another shocking loss before December even begins, which is something that Deacon fans have sadly grown accustomed to over the last nine years.

Wake Forest hasn’t truly made the NCAA Tournament since 2010, as in most people’s book a loss in the First Four doesn't count as a true tournament appearance.

On April 7, 2010 athletics director Ron Wellman fired Dino Gaudio from his position as head basketball coach due to “a lack of postseason success”. There were likely other factors that were never revealed, but that’s not the point here.

Wellman hired Jeffrey Joseph Bzdelik on April 13, 2010 in a move that wasn’t exactly popular with fans, as many felt Bzdelik did not have a good enough resume for the job and that Wellman could have searched longer and found a much better candidate.

After going 51-76 in four years, Wellman fired Jeff Bzdelik and hired Danny Manning, who once again fans thought didn’t have the track record necessary to turn around the program.

Since the time Bzdelik was hired (and through five games of the 2018-19 season), Wake Forest basketball has gone a combined 108-151 (a .417 win percentage). In conference play, the Deacs have gone 37-103 (a .264 win percentage). This should be unacceptable anywhere.

In four years as Wake Forest’s head coach, Jeff Bzdelik had one winning season, which was in his final year where the Deacs finished one game above .500. In Danny Manning’s four-plus years, Wake Forest has had one winning season, in which they went 19-14 and lost in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament.

Now let’s dig deeper into the stats for the two:

Jeff Bzdelik

Wake Forest v Boston College Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Maryland v Wake Forest Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Overall Wake Forest Record: 51-76 (.406 win percentage)

Conference Wake Forest Record: 17-51 (.250 win percentage)

Postseason at Wake Forest: None

Best Overall Season at Wake Forest: 17-16 in 2013-14

Best Conference Season at Wake Forest: 6-12 in 2012-13 and 2013-14

Worst Overall Season at Wake Forest: 8-24 in 2010-11 (worst in program history)

Worst Conference Season at Wake Forest: 1-15 in 2010-11

ACC Tournament Record at Wake Forest: 1-4

Inexcusable Losses at Wake Forest: Stetson at home (298th in KenPom), Winthrop at home, Presbyterian at home, Wofford at home, Iona in the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, UNC-Wilmington in Greensboro

Upset Wins at Wake Forest: #18 NC State at home in 2013, #2 Miami at home in 2013, #19 North Carolina at home in 2014, #4 Duke at home in 2014

5-Star Recruits: None

4-Star Recruits: 6 Carson Desrosiers, Travis McKie, J.T. Terrell, Melvin Tabb, Codi Miller-McIntyre, Greg McClinton

Players to Leave the Program: 8 Tony Chennault (transferred to Villanova), Carson Desrosiers (transferred to Providence), J.T. Terrell (transferred to Southern California), Ari Stewart (transferred to Southern California), Melvin Tabb (dismissed and transferred to Kent State), Ty Walker (dismissed, but graduated from Wake), Anthony Fields (transferred to Liberty), Chase Fischer (transferred to BYU)

Offered a Contract Extension by Wellman: NO

Danny Manning

Kansas State v Wake Forest Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Wake Forest v Duke Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Overall Record at Wake Forest: 57-74 (.435 win percentage)

Conference Record at Wake Forest: 20-52 (.278 win percentage)

Postseason at Wake Forest: Loss in NCAA Tournament First Four in 2017

Best Overall Season at Wake Forest: 19-14 in 2016-17

Best Conference Season at Wake Forest: 9-9 in 2016-17

Worst Overall Season at Wake Forest: 11-20 in 2017-18

Worst Conference Season at Wake Forest: 2-16 in 2015-16

ACC Tournament Record at Wake Forest: 1-4

Inexcusable Losses at Wake Forest: Iona at home, Delaware State at home (ranked 300th in KenPom), Georgia Southern at home, Liberty at home, Drake in the Paradise Jam in Lynchburg, Houston Baptist at home (297th in KenPom)

Upset Wins at Wake Forest: #8 Louisville at home in 2017

5-Star Recruits: 1 Jaylen Hoard

4-Star Recruits: 9 Doral Moore, Bryant Crawford, John Collins, Brandon Childress, Chaundee Brown, Olivier Sarr, Isaiah Mucius, Sharone Wright Jr., Jamie Lewis

Players to Leave the Program: 17 Tyler Cavanaugh (transferred to George Washington), Arnaud William Adala Moto (transferred to Towson), Daniel Green (graduated and transferred to Arkansas Little Rock), Greg McClinton (graduated and transferred to Old Dominion), Rondale Watson (transferred to Marshall), Cornelius Hudson (dismissed and transferred to Angelo State), Andre Washington (graduated and transferred to East Carolina), Madison Jones (dismissed and transferred to Seton Hall), Aaron Rountree (graduated and transferred to Iona), Dinos Mitoglou (left to play professionally in Greece), Keyshawn Woods (graduated and transferred to Ohio State), John Collins (left early for the NBA Draft and was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks), Doral Moore (left early to enter the NBA Draft and went undrafted, currently in the G League), Bryant Crawford (left early to enter the NBA Draft and went undrafted, currently playing in Israel), Rich Washington (transferred), Donovan Mitchell (transferred to Santa Clara), Sam Japhet-Mathias (dismissed and transferred to San Jose State), Melo Eggleston (transferred to Arkansas State)

Offered a Contract Extension by Wellman: YES

As you can see from the above comparisons, there really isn't much to separate Danny Manning from Jeff Bzdelik. They both have one winning season, and Manning’s lone winning season was only slightly more successful than Bzdelik’s.

While recruiting has been significantly better under Manning, the results have not.

Bzdelik actually had more wins over top 10 teams than Manning has had.

Manning has had more than twice the number of players leave that Bzdelik did.

Manning has lost five games to sub-200 KenPom teams in the last year plus five games so far this year. Bzdelik’s last loss to a team of this level came in his second to last season, and only two came after his first two years.

While I am certainly not advocating for bringing Jeff Bzdelik back, nor am I saying that he was in any way whatsoever a good coach, the facts seem to say that Danny Manning has been just as bad as Bzdelik.

Barring a miracle, it’s time to move on from Danny Manning at the end of the season. Here’s hoping I’m wrong and that miracle happens.

As always, Go Deacs.