Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons Need to Fire Jeff Bzdelik
The proud program of Chris Paul, Tim Duncan and Muggsy Bogues has become an ACC laughingstock in Bzdelik's three seasons finishing 12th, ninth and 10th, respectively. Bzdelik has posted a record of 34-60, including 11-37 in conference play. To make matters worse, he has won only one ACC road game with the Deacs.
No, that's not a typo.
Dino Gaudio, the Deacs coach from 2007-10, had a 61-31 record and made the postseason in all three seasons before Athletics Director Ron Wellman ousted him.
Wellman cited lack of postseason success for his dismissal. His last win? An overtime thriller over Texas in the first round of the NCAA tournament
Meanwhile, his replacement has yet to reach the postseason. Bzdelik's failure ended the Demon Deacons 16 straight seasons in postseason play, the longest in the ACC.
In addition, Bzdelik's voice has not resonated well with many players. More players have transferred or were dismissed from the program in his first two seasons, eight, than the Deacs had conference wins, five.
This season, many Demon Deacon fans have publicly voiced their dissatisfaction with the direction of the program. The website FireBz.com has received national press. In the past weeks, fans funded advertisements in the school's newspaper The Old Gold and Black and this week in the Greensboro News and Record for the ACC tournament to get rid of the embattled head coach. On Twitter, the #BuzzOut has gained steam.
Should Wake Forest fire Jeff Bzdelik?
Last night's 75-62 loss in the ACC tournament was a microcosm of Bzdelik's career. The No. 10 seeded Demon Deacons played a great first half to hold a 35-30 lead over No. 7 seeded Maryland. The freshman-laden Deacs stayed tough, clinging to a 52-51 lead with 10 minutes left. But that's when everything fell apart.
The Terrapins went on a 24-8 run, and the Deacs didn't score a field goal in over eight-and-a-half minutes. Bzdelik did not call a timeout through this rough stretch to make adjustments, call a set play or calm his players. Only once Devin Thomas broke this streak with under two minutes left did Bzdelik use one of his timeouts. By that point, the game was well out of reach.
As they have all season, the Deacs showed promise, but remained undisciplined when it mattered most. The Deacs had only three turnovers in the first half, while turning it over 11 times in the second half.
Bzdelik supporters argue that his team showed marked improvement this season with seven freshman and had great upsets over No. 2 Miami and No. 18 NC State.
Firstly, the Deacs went 2-8 against the bottom half of the ACC. In two such games, they led by seven and four in the final two minutes against Boston College and Georgia Tech, respectively, losing both due to terrible coaching.
Secondly, the team did not win a conference road game all season.
This team has loads of young talent. Let them develop under a coach with winning tradition. Bring in a coach that can rewrite the ship and bring Wake Forest basketball back to where it belongs, in ACC contention.
Next week, Wake Forest's three biggest rivals, Duke, UNC and NC State, will all be participating in March Madness. For the third straight season, the Deacs will be watching on TV.
It is time for Wake Forest to end Jeff Bzdelik's ignominious tenure and start anew.
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