- ALL ACCESS
- Journal West
MTOW: Taking stock here on May 29, 2014, how would you assess the Wake Forest athletics program as a whole? What excites you the most and what is your greatest concern?
MTOW: You’ve touched on this briefly, but concerning the change in coaches in the two revenue sports, the earliest true evaluation won’t be possible until next season. But what have you learned about Dave Clawson and Danny Manning since you hired them that gives you the greatest cause for optimism.
MTOW: Five years have passed since Wake had a winning season in football. Why?
MTOW: Four basketball seasons have passed since Wake contended for first division in the ACC and a post-season bid. Why?
MTOW: The McCreary Athletics Performance Center that will be built, what do you see as the impact there?
MTOW: The point can be made that Wake Forest has yet to recover from losing three players to the NBA after their sophomore years -- Jeff Teague, James Johnson and Farouq Al-Aminu. That’s three guys who left after their sophomore years, and that’s a blow to a program that the Kentuckys of college basketball, the Dukes, the major teams can overcome. There aren’t many programs in college basketball that can easily overcome that. You and I have had this discussion before. How do you balance that, going after the players who might leave after their freshman and sophomore years with the kinds of players that you need to build programs around? One of the points that Danny Manning made when we had our interview was that senior leadership is huge in college basketball programs. Where’s the balance there?
MTOW: Concerning the athletics program as a whole, five years ago, in 2009, Wake was 37th nationally in Directors’ Cup standing and sixth in the ACC, ahead of Miami, Georgia Tech, Clemson, BC, N.C. State and Virginia Tech. Four years ago you were 53rd nationally and eighth in the ACC. For the past three seasons, Wake’s been 92nd and 89th and 98th nationally and last in the ACC. Why the downward trend?
MTOW: In baseball, maybe the most high profile of all Olympic sports, the Deacons have yet to make the NCAA Tournament in Tom Walter’s five seasons as head coach. And I believe he is a good man and a good baseball coach. Why has he not been able to make the NCAA Tournament?
MTOW: How does a small private school with a high cost of tuition and a billion-dollar endowment -- which is a billion dollars but it ranks around 75th among the nation’s universities -- compete in the 21st century in major college athletics? Can it be done, and if so, how does Wake do it?
Ron Wellman was asked Thursday to take stock of the Wake Forest University athletics program at the end of his 22nd year as the school’s director of athletics.
Once the blur of spring finally slowed from miles-per-nano-second to miles-per-hour, I was able to drop by Danny Manning's office Monday and talk with him about his thoughts, plans and vision for the Wake basketball program.
MTOW: And what are your general impressions of the talent level here?
MTOW: Skip (Prosser) used to always say that the teams with the most NBA players win. Is it the Kentucky model or the Butler model?
MTOW: Are you going to wait to assess the talent to determine exactly which way you want to play this year?
Dave Clawson's first defense at Wake has a chance to be pretty solid, especially if he and his staff can develop depth up front.
Cory Helms and Josh Harris have been shoulder-to-shoulder for years now, ever since the two started alongside each other in the offensive line for Milton High School of Alpharetta, Ga.
In discussing the hiring of Randolph Childress as an assistant coach, Danny Manning said he was excited about having Childress' voice be a part of what he wants to accomplish at Wake.
Danny Manning, to his credit and my immense relief, doesn't act like he invented the game of basketball.
The Beatles almost saw their careers as rock musicians end before they ever made it out of Hamburg. They were playing an infamous Reeperbahn dive called the Indra, and though the menacingly shady head honcho Bruno Koschmider liked their music all right, the lads weren't shaking their tail feathers hard enough to hold the attention of the paying customers past a round or two.
The more I heard about Danny Manning this past wild and crazy week, the more I warmed up to the idea of him taking over the Wake program.