March 21st, 2014
There was some pretty big news on campus yesterday. Our head basketball coach, Jeff Bzdelik, resigned following what some would call a difficult and sometimes contentious tenure on campus. There is an article on Wakeforestsports.com about his resignation.
Here is a quote from Coach Bzdelik from that article: “‘During my year-end review with Ron, we discussed the overall status of the program which I believe is very positive,’ said Bzdelik. ‘The right players are in place who have the values that are important at Wake Forest. At the end of the discussion, I told Ron that I am resigning because there needs to be a positive environment for the players to realize their potential. I appreciate the opportunity that we have had at Wake Forest. I look forward to the future success of this program.'”
Following the press conference to announce his resignation, there was an interesting – and to me, disappointing – turn of events. Hearing of his resignation, some folks rolled the Quad. You might have seen it on the Quad Cam; there is still some toilet paper hanging in the wind this morning. I was not there to witness it, and I have no idea whether it was students or local fans or alumni who led the charge. But I am sorry that it happened.
Whether or not a person was Team Bzdelik or Team Time for a Change, I question whether rolling the Quad was the right thing to do. We are a community, and while we may not always agree with each other, we ought to strive to treat each other with respect, kindness, and dignity. I have to ask myself whether rolling the Quad satisfied any of those three ideals for our community.
I can certainly understand the Deacon faithful wanting to bring home a lot of wins, conference championships, and more. We are an ardent fanbase and we bleed black and gold. When we have long bad streaks, it hurts. But to rejoice, and so publicly, in someone else’s resignation, are we acting in a classy manner, or are we showing a side of ourselves that isn’t living up to our values?
I am not an athletic director and I am glad I don’t have to choose coaches. But I can say I have met Coach Bzdelik before. He came to speak to a small group of alumni fans early in his tenure. He was honest, direct, forthcoming, and spent more time with our group than I ever expected of a Division I coach. My husband and son have gone to the WF Hoops Academy during Father’s Day weekend. They enjoyed their time with him. This is a man who I believe genuinely cared for Wake Forest and his players. He is also a Wake Forest parent.
My Facebook and Twitter lastnight were full of people on both sides of the argument “to roll or not to roll?” I saw remarks from athletes and parents of athletes, alumni, and even coverage from the Old Gold and Black. Strong feelings emerged.
Is this the best Wake Forest we can be?
Is this the face we want to show to the world?
The controversy of rolling the Quad is something I hope that people on campus and beyond will discuss.