Yabba Dabba Doo…

Posted by rtmsf on August 7th, 2007

As we predicted earlier today, if any decision came from Wake this week, we figured that would mean that Ron Wellman decided that the next steward of the Demon Deacons would be one of the two assistant coaches, Dino Gaudio or Jeff Battle. Sure enough, the buzz this evening around the campus and later confirmed by Andy Katz is that Dino Gaudio has been offered a three-year contract to coach the Deacs. Exhibiting the confidence that Wellman has in him, he will not be an interim coach. A press conference has been scheduled for 11am EDT tomorrow.

Dino Flintstones

The fifty-year old coach was a head coach for seven seasons prior to his latest stint at Wake, first at Army and later at Loyola (Maryland). His record at those schools was uninspiring (68-124) for an imminent ACC coach, but this is still probably a decent hire for several reasons. First, his presence alone ensures continuity with the current players and the recruiting haul due on campus a year from now. Second, the contract is only three years, which probably mirrors the length of time that Prosser would have been given to turn the program around – if Gaudio turns out to not be the right hire, Wellman won’t have to make a large buyout in order to move forward. Finally, by keeping things “within the family,” you get the sense that Skip would have wanted this, and the WFU community should respond quite favorably in kind.

Good Luck, Dino.

Update:  Today’s press conference revealed that Gaudio has a five-year deal in place (not three years, as previously reported) to coach the Deacons.  His excitement during his introduction was apparent, and he said all the right things – commitment to defense and halfcourt execution, stress on academics, etc. – to sate the assembled media and WFU partisans.  While we ultimately feel this is a good hire, we also recognize that Gaudio has considerable work ahead of him.  He seems capable and aware, but the stress of the rigors of the ACC can wear down any coach, especially one who was content to be a high-profile assistant just two weeks ago and has had to endure a very emotional ordeal.  The 2007-08 season will be his honeymoon, but when the AT&T class arrives on campus next summer, expectations will shoot through the roof.  How he handles that class will likely act as the bellwether for his duration as head coach at the school.     

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Tuesday Thoughts…

Posted by rtmsf on August 7th, 2007

Again these are thoughts that are bouncing around in our head but are too shallow to merit a full posting…

  • Wake Forest Coaching Search.  We’re not hearing anything out of The Dash that may indicate which way Ron Wellman is leaning at this point.  Anyone who knows anything is tightlipped.  We have to believe that if his plan is to elevate assistant Dino Gaudio or Jeff Battle to the head coaching position, then it would happen this week.  No need to prolong things.  If Wake doesn’t have a new coach by Friday, however, then that indicates to us that Wellman is putting feelers out to other coaches such as Anthony Grant, Mike Montgomery and Brad Brownell to gauge their interest.  Stay tuned…
  • Chamin-awed.  We thought this was a neat find (from a neat site).  Lion in Oil reports that Chaminade University, longtime giant-killer and host of the annual Maui Invitational, is sponsoring a contest to produce a new logo for its sports teams, the Silverswords.  Might we suggest a caricature of 6’2 Chaminade guard Tim Dunham dunking in Ralph Sampson’s face as the defining moment for that school?
  • Football Players Think Bloggers are Lame.  You may have caught a recent cnnsi.com poll where they asked college football players the following question:
    •  Do you read message boards or blogs where fans discuss your team? 
    • 39.5% yes
    • 60.5% no
  • We doubt college hoopsters are any more or less savvy than their football counterparts, so we’ll assume the percentages are roughly equal for both sports.  Which is fine.  We wouldn’t want some of the guys we rip (cough, McBob) to come after us anyway.   Not because we’re afraid of him, mind you – rather, we just don’t want his unadulterated douchiness getting that close to us. 
  • Barry Bonds.   Now that the Greatest American Hero is set to spend the next week grounding out as he endeavors to assault the MLB record books one last time, we always wondered what could have been.  BB was regarded as the best all-around athlete at Junipero Serra HS in San Mateo, CA, a school with no shortage of athletes over the years (Jim Fregosi, Lynn Swann, Tom Brady).  According to his biographer Jeff Pearlman:

“Barry started as a small forward on the freshman basketball team [at Junipero Serra] that winter – a quick slasher with decent court vision, a mediocre outside shot, and no right hand to speak of.  But the athleticism was otherworldly.  Whereas many of his peers struggled to touch rim, Barry dunked and swatted shots off the backboard.  He was unlike anyone Serra had seen in years.  And this was his second best sport.” 

  • So there you have it.  Bonds was a sick athlete for a high school freshman, but unlike say, Dave Winfield or David Justice, he likely wasn’t skilled enough to ultimately become a great hoops player.  We should all be thankful for that.     
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08.03.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on August 3rd, 2007

Heading into the weekend…

  • Joakim Noah’s sister can dunk!  Actually, we’re not convinced that this video shows a girl, but if it is, the third dunk (two-hand chin-up) is pretty sick.  We’ve never seen a girl dunk like that before. 
  • UNLV coach Lon Kruger is resting comfortably after a six-bypass open heart surgery procedure yesterday.  Best wishes on a speedy recovery to another one of the good guys in the coaching world. 
  • Bruce Pearl’s Tennessee squad is heading to eastern Europe for 11 days starting next Wednesday.  Often these trips help experienced teams get a leg up on their competition.
  • And the winner for Best College Sports Town is Gainesville, Florida…  In other news, having sex is considered fun
  • Lorenzo Romar signed a nine-year extension that could keep him at UW through 2016. 
  • Our gridiron brethren have released their preseason Coaches Poll – USC is #1, but who is the jokester that gave Duke a top 25 vote – Steve Spurrier?    
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08.02.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on August 2nd, 2007

August sorta snuck up on us, and with it did the realization that we’re now only about ten weeks away from Midnight Madness. 2007-08 schedules are slowly leaking out (Hey Florida – way to challenge build confidence for your new guys), and students will be back in the school in just a few weeks. We’re getting closer…

  • Speaking of schedules, the four Preseason NIT first/second round sites are: Ohio St., Syracuse, Washington, and Texas A&M. Best chance for a first-round upset? Oral Roberts over TAMU.
  • Wazzu stepped up to the plate to compensate Tony Bennett for his fine first season, although his pay is still below the Pac-10 average.
  • The hits keep coming for New Mexico St. – star forward Tyrone Nelson was dismissed from the team hours after his conviction for the robbery of a pizza delivery man.
  • Over forty institutions were named as allegedly taking part in a student loan kickback scheme that could have affected non-scholarship athletes at schools such as Georgetown, UCLA, Kansas and Auburn. As student loan holders, this is a troubling development.
  • March Madness All Season released its midsummer Top 25 – Memphis is #1.
  • Oh, and a while back Dick Vitale released his 07-08 preseason Rolls-Roycers (we prefer Maybachs) with nary a Dookie to be found.
  • Ahh, our friends the Dookies. H/T to The Dude Abides for finding the Duke response to the infamous “This is Why Duke Sucks” vid from earlier this year. There is no way any of the guys in that video actually go to Duke. Also have to mention we love the Audi – is there any car more Duke?
  • Speaking of Duke douchebags, McBob has apparently found his way into the back seat with quasi-reality MTV star Lauren Conrad.   
  • So what you’re saying is that we’re like every other sports blogger, right? Actually this is a pretty cool (although admittedly unscientific) analysis of the typical profile of sports bloggers today.
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Posted by rtmsf on August 1st, 2007

As the Wake Forest community struggles to begin the healing process after the shocking death of Coach Skip Prosser last week, fans and alumni are left wondering what will happen next?  While there’s a standard protocol in place for when a coach retires, leaves for another program or simply gets fired, there really isn’t one for something like this.  Wake’s AD Ron Wellman is facing some tough internal conflicts:

When is the appropriate time to begin talking about replacing a man that was so dear to the campus community?

How do you strike a proper balance between respect for the man’s family and legacy while also working in the best long-term interests of the school?

What do you say to the players and recruits about the direction in which the program will be going, as their lives and futures are most impacted by your immediate decisions?

Ron Wellman 

Wellman Has a Difficult Road Ahead to Navigate

We don’t envy Wellman’s position, as he is facing an extremely precarious situation.  Any decision made too rashly or emotionally could negatively affect the basketball (and overall sports) program for the next decade.  Any decision made too callously or calculatingly could result in a negative undercurrent that could also tarnish the integrity of the school and program.  The key for Wellman, as when he hired Prosser and football coach Jim Grobe, is to find a situation that appropriately balances all factors to the greatest extent possible.  MUCH easier said than done.

The Wake Forest message boards have already been buzzing about possible replacements for Coach Prosser, and as expected, they have fallen into two camps.  As best we can ballpark it, from half to two-thirds of Wake fans would like to see Wellman promote from within, giving either of Prosser’s assistant coaches Dino Gaudio or Jeff Battle a chance to lead the program without the dreaded “interim” tag attached.  There are a couple of recent precedents for this course of action – Northwestern promoted its top assistant Pat Fitzgerald when its head football coach, Randy Walker, unexpectedly died in July 2006.  Indiana did likewise with Bill Lynch when its head football coach, Terry Hoeppner, died of a brain tumor in June 2007.  Wellman may feel less pressure to make this move with the announcement today that the vaunted “AT&T” class of 2008 are expected to keep their verbal commitments to the school.   

The remainder would like to see Wellman open up a national search for a new coach.  Despite the lateness of the season in the coaching carousel, there is a reasonable expectation that some coaches would leave their current programs mid-stream in order to have an opportunity at an ACC school with a top-rated recruiting class set to arrive.  The most commonly discussed names (with positives and negatives below) are:

  • Mike Montgomery – former head coach of Stanford (1986-2004) and the Golden State Warriors (2004-06)
    • Monty is the only former D1 coach out there who is currently available.
    • He fits the “profile” in that he ran a clean program in a strict academic environment at a small private school competing in a BCS conference.
    • Very successful at Stanford and Montana (25 winning seasons in 26 years), including a F4 appearance in 1998.
    • Would a long-time California guy want to move to the east coast?
    • He is sixty years old – would he have the requisite drive and/or interest at this point in his life?

Mike Montgomery

Can Wake Lure Monty out of Retirement?

  • Anthony Grant – current VCU head coach (2006-present) and former uber-recruiter under Billy Donovan at Florida (1996-2006)
    • Clearly he’s on the fast track to a major job – it’s simply a matter of when and where?
    • Plays an exciting uptempo style of ball honed while on staff with Billy D at Florida.
    • Has shown he can beat Duke in March.
    • Only one year of collegiate head coaching experience (although a very good year at VCU).
    • 41 years old – inexperienced, but potential to become Wake’s coach for the next 25 years. 

Anthony Grant

How About Anthony Grant?

  • Gregg Marshall – current Wichita St. head coach (2007) and former Winthrop head coach (1998-2007)
    • A (South) Carolina guy who is familiar with the ins and outs of recruiting in the area as well as the ACC.
    • Just took a job with Wichita St. in April 2007 after nine very successful seasons at Winthrop – too disruptive and unfair to WSU?
    • Style of play could be a problem – Wake fans tend to want to play uptempo basketball, and Marshall’s teams are slower than Xmas. 
    • 44 years old, but experienced and very successful considering he was at a Big South school for nine seasons (7 NCAA appearances)
  • Bob McKillop – current Davidson head coach (1989-present)
    • Another coach familiar with the landscape of the ACC, having worked and recruited in the area for nearly two decades.
    • Tremendous success at a small academically-oriented school (4 NCAA appearances and 3 NIT appearances in the last fourteen seasons).
  • Brad Brownell – current Wright St. head coach (2006-present) and former UNC-Wilmington head coach (2002-06)
    • Another young (38 years old) up-and-comer who has had oustanding success in five short years at UNC-Wilmington (2 NCAAs in 4 seasons) and Wright St. (1 NCAA in 1 season).
    • Roots are in the midwest although he spent four recent years in North Carolina, so he should understand the lay of the land.

 Bob McKillop

Or a Darkhorse Like McKillop?

Whichever direction Wellman chooses to go, he undoubtedly has his work cut out for him.  Stay tuned, as we’ll be all over the story if something breaks. 


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