Having already taken out an ad in the Wake Forest paper demanding the firing of third-year coach Jeff Bzdelik, a group of Demon Deacons fans upped the ante considerably on Thursday morning.
The fans shelled out a combined $2,400 to put a similar #BuzzOut ad on the front page of the Greensboro News & Record sports section the same day as Wake Forest begins ACC tournament play in Greensboro against Maryland. Featured in the ad are two stats: Bzdelik's 1-24 road record in the ACC during his tenure and the fact that 20 of those 24 losses have come by more than 10 points.
It appears the ad was paid for at least in part by the creators of the anti-Bzdelik website www.firebz.com, which popped up earlier this season as Wake Forest (13-17, 6-12) was in the midst of its third straight losing season. The Demon Deacons went a combined 21-42 in Bzdelik's first two seasons after he attempted to improve the culture of Wake Forest basketball by sending a number of former coach Dino Gaudio's players packing and all but starting anew.
The Demon Deacons began this season almost as poorly as the previous two, losing by 26 to Iona, by 16 to Nebraska and narrowly to middling Richmond and Seton Hall. They did show improvement in ACC play, struggling on the road but toppling Miami, NC State and Virginia in home games.
Considering that athletic director Ron Wellman made the unpopular decision to hire Bzdelik after his third straight losing season at Colorado, Bzdelik's fate after the season may come down to how willing Wellman will be to admit he erred.
Wellman could easily justify firing Bzdelik because of his inability to connect with fans and sell the program and the team's inability to win enough games. Or Wellman could bring Bzdelik back one more year by noting Wake Forest's incremental improvement this season, especially in some of its big home wins.
What the fans who put the ad in the Greensboro newspaper are doing is trying to make it as difficult as possible for Wellman to make the latter decision.
Sometimes when the atmosphere around a program is so caustic and a coach has lost the fan base to this extent, it's best for the school to start fresh and move on.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jeff Bzdelik