Parents and families, if you have been following Wake Forest for a long time, you might be aware that a legend has just arrived back on our campus. If you are new to Deacdom, allow me to offer a brief history lesson.
Wake Forest basketball has been one of the most cherished parts of the campus experience. We have a long and storied history of success on the courts, and some very esteemed names hang on banners in the rafters of Joel Coliseum. One of them is Randolph Childress.
If memory serves, Randolph was a junior when another well known Deac, Tim Duncan, was a freshman. Randolph was a point guard of tremendous aptitude – great ball movement, a deadly accurate shooter, and a natural leader on the court. Watching him play was something else – he had unshakeable confidence, even when we weren’t doing well, and his face barely moved. Fans used to say that he had ice in his veins – nothing seemed to faze him. He and Tim Duncan – and the rest of a very talented team – quickly became a force to be reckoned with. We won, and won, and won.
Randolph led Wake Forest to an ACC Tournament victory in 1995 that will go down in history as one of the most exciting ACC Tournaments ever. Wake Forest ultimately won the tournament, largely carried by the unrelenting will of Randolph, who led Wake Forest to beat Duke in the first round. We had a pitiful first half against Duke, then Randolph started shooting and couldn’t miss. As the broadcast cut to a commercial during a time out, the cameras were in the Wake Forest huddle, where an impassioned Randolph was telling his teammates “Just give me the ball every time!” He went on to score a total of 107 points during the tournament, a record that still stands.
Alumni and fans of Wake Forest will perhaps remember him best for two things in that tournament: during the game with UNC (our most dreaded rival at the time), he was being guarded by a UNC player named Jeff McInnis. Randolph faked him out with a crossover dribble, which tripped up McInnis and caused him to fall. Randolph paused, looked down at McInnis, motioned for him to get up, then icily drained a 3. He later won the game with a last second bicycle jumper in overtime, affectionately referred to in WFU parlance as “The Shot” (similar to “The Drive” or “The Immaculate Reception”)
He is a true Wake Forest legend, and legions of alumni, parents, and basketball fans alike thrilled to the news that he has returned to campus to work in the athletic department. There is a story in the Winston-Salem Journal and it talks about how he is “ecstatic” to be back. Probably not half as ecstatic as the rest of us are. Welcome back to Mother So Dear, # 22.