From the Director of Athletics – March 2019

03/11/19

Dear Deacon Parents,

As you likely have heard, a lot has transpired over the past couple of weeks. On March 4, it was announced that I will be retiring on May 1 and Dr. Hatch has selected John Currie to succeed me as the next athletic director. John is a Wake Forest alum who has had a very successful career and is very highly respected in our industry. Please join me in welcoming home John, his wife Mary Lawrence, who is also a WFU alum, and their children Jack, Virginia and Mary-Dell. You can read more about John by clicking here.

John and I will be working closely together in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition, and I assure you that the wellbeing of our Demon Deacon student-athletes remains our top priority. It has been an absolute privilege to spend 26+ years here at Wake Forest. I have truly enjoyed getting to know your daughters and sons and watching them develop into champions, and I have no doubt that their future will remain incredibly bright under John’s leadership.

On a much different topic, this week we were all very surprised and concerned to learn of Wake Forest’s link to “Operation Varsity Blues,” the Department of Justice’s investigation into the influence of financial transactions and other activities to gain admission into top universities. Our volleyball coach Bill Ferguson was named in this indictment and placed on administrative leave. Randi Smart, who has been an assistant volleyball coach in our program since 2017, has been named interim coach, effective immediately. We have full confidence in her ability to lead our program and student-athletes through this tumultuous time. The University has retained outside legal counsel to look into this matter.

On Tuesday Dr. Hatch sent a message to the campus community – students, faculty, and staff (you can read it here). A larger message went out on Wednesday to the campus community as well as alumni and parents/families:

“I am writing today to address some of the most frequent questions I have received and to make abundantly clear that Wake Forest is considered by the U.S. Department of Justice to be a victim of this fraud. In no way has it been suggested that the University was involved in the deceitful practices, nor were any employees, other than Ferguson, accused of wrongdoing.” Read his full message here.

I know this may be a confusing and trying time for many in our community, but as I mentioned earlier, our student-athletes remain our top priority. We are committed to doing everything we can to help them process and navigate this situation. Their best interests remain top of mind always.

In happier news, we have so much to look forward to in the next couple of months! From spring sport competitions to the Black & Golden Globes to Commencement, it will be a very busy time for our student-athletes, coaches and staff, but our entire department will have much to celebrate!

Go Deacs!

Ron Wellman