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Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wake Forest AD starts selling Jeff Bzdelik

By Eamonn Brennan

Firing Dino Gaudio and hiring Jeff Bzdelik was always going to be a tough sell. Gaudio had three winning seasons in his first three years at Wake Forest. Bzdelik had three losing seasons in his first three years at Colorado. Gaudio came from the late coach Skip Prosser's system; Bzdelik's daughter goes to Wake Forest, and Bzdelik is buddies with athletic director Ron Wellman. This is not the stuff slam dunk hires are made of.

Which is why it's important for Wellman to impressively demonstrate why he thinks Bzdelik is the better man for the job. OK then, Ron. Go for it:
"You have to dig deeper than the numbers," Wellman said. "You look at where Colorado was three years ago. ... He really had to start over. Their situation was very challenging, so you can't take a three-year snippet and compare it to other programs, whether it be in his conference or another conference or us. That would be totally unfair, and obviously, we dug a lot deeper than that to look at the program and the progress of the program."

No one doubts that Wellman dug deep. And he's right: You can't just look at won-loss numbers to determine who the better coach is here. There are such things as context and environment, and both of factor heavily into any coach's record. But by any regular standard, swapping Bzdelik for Gaudio is a risky proposition. It's a big-time gamble. In a way, it's admirable, but Wellman has to be right. This time, it's not just a coach's job on the line.