Ron Wellman’s time as Wake Forest’s athletic director officially came to a close yesterday, as John Currie takes over today.
And while the basketball program has fallen into pieces over the last decade under Wellman’s leadership, Wake Forest athletics would not be in the overall position it is today without his guidance.
Here are some of Ron’s best achievements and decisions over the course of his career:
The number one thing that comes to mind when I think of what Ron Wellman has done for Wake Forest is the massive upgrade to facilities.
- McCreary Fieldhouse
- The Sutton Sports Performance Center
- The Shah Basketball Complex
- McCreary Tower
- The purchase of the former Ernie Shore Field and all the recent upgrades to it
- The tennis complex
- The Haddock House for golf
- The upgrades to Spry Stadium
- The purchase of Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum
There could be others I may have accidentally left off the list, but all of the above are examples of how Ron took Wake athletics to the next level by upgrading to some of the finest facilities in the country.
Improvements to Non-Revenue Sports
Especially in recent years, the non-revenue sports at Wake Forest have really taken off under Ron’s leadership.
- Men’s tennis won the National Championship last year and is in contention to repeat.
- Jenifer Kupcho of women's golf won an individual National Championship last year, and should be in contention again this year.
- Field Hockey has won three National Championships in program history, and all have been under the guidance of coach Jen Averill who came to Wake in the same year as Wellman.
- Petros Chrysochos’ individual tennis National Championship last year in an all-Wake Forest final.
- A women’s tennis individual National Championship by Bea Bielik in 2002.
- A men’s soccer national championship in 2007, and a top 5 team and national title contender every single year recently in men’s soccer.
- Baseball appeared in a Super Regional in 2017 and is now back to being competitive in the ACC every year.
Home Run Coaching Hires
Ron may not have been directly responsible for all of these, but he certainly had a role in them coming to Wake Forest. And while the last two basketball hires haven't been great, the list below shows he made some great decisions for the leadership of Wake Forest sports.
- Dave Clawson who re-energized the football program and won three straight bowl games for the first time in school history.
- Jim Grobe who won the school’s second ever football ACC Championship and had the most successful season in school history.
- Skip Prosser who re-energized the fan base with the creation of Tie-Dye Nation, made the Joel one of the toughest environments in the country and led the school to its first ever #1 ranking.
- Bobby Muuss who has men’s soccer consistently in contention for the National Championship.
- Tony da Luz who has coached women’s soccer for 21 of the 24 seasons it has existed at Wake Forest and is one of only 10 Wake Forest coaches to win over 200 games in any sport.
- Tony Bresky who has men’s tennis in national contention every single year, has brought in some of the best players the school has ever seen, and led them to a National Championship last season.
Extending Dave Clawson
In his final act as Director of Athletics, Wellman announced yesterday that Dave Clawson agreed to a contract extension that keeps him as Wake Forest’s head football coach through 2026. Given the recent success of the program, this made many Wake fans very happy.
Wake Forest athletics as a whole is in a great position to succeed going forward thanks to the leadership of Ron Wellman. We at Blogger So Dear wish Mr. Wellman well in his retirement.