As our new Director of Athletics John Currie has hit the ground running, he is delivering a clear message to our various constituents—wear black and gold, attend more games, and demand the ACC Network from your cable or satellite provider. The key takeaway of his message is resonating with our fans—be proud to be a Demon Deacon. Wear your black and gold with pride and give an enthusiastic “Go Deacs” to a passerby that is wearing the WF logo. Understand that attending more games must be intentional—you need to prepare and make our games a priority. Be a Demon Deacon evangelist by encouraging others to attend and become a catalyst of Deacon pride among your groups of family, friends and co-workers.
When I think about one of the best examples of someone who has carried out this effort over the course of more than 60 years, I think of Abe Elmore (’55). Abe was a student manager at the Old Campus of Wake Forest and used his job to work his way through college. He later came to lead a club called the “Wake Forest Has-Beens”—a group of alumni from the Old Campus. His leadership manifested itself through various communications to his group. He coordinated reunions and the Has-Beens became known as some of the most loyal and steadfast attendees at any event we hosted.
Abe took his Deacon pride to a new level when he bought an oversized van that could hold 15-20 people…a tailgating machine! It not only held all his supplies, but also provided seating for his guests. Each Homecoming he would order about 60-70 tickets for his group. He consistently brought his co-workers to games and coordinated outings for customers. Over the years, his family has grown to 21 great-grandchildren who all made coming to games a regular occasion, traveling from Dunn, N.C. where Elmore Furniture was the staple of the community. His tremendous passion for Wake Forest earned Abe the Gene Hooks Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes a former Wake Forest coach, staff member, student-athlete, trainer or manager who has exhibited traits of integrity, charity and leadership, and embodies the Pro Humanitate spirit that Dr. Hooks, former Director of Athletics, exhibited over his 45 years associated with Wake Forest University.
Unfortunately, Abe passed away a few weeks ago, but I was privileged to attend his funeral. What I learned at the funeral was that this amazing man was not only a staple of the Wake Forest community, but the ultimate leader in his own community. He had a burning desire to improve his hometown of Dunn, where he served as Mayor from 1971 to 1983. Even in death, with an overcapacity crowd looking on, he continued to exemplify what it means to be an avid, passionate Wake Forest fan. He was buried with a Wake Forest hat on his head and a Deacons sign on his casket, and as his Celebration of Life came to an end, a chorus of “Rah! Rah! Wake Forest, Rah!” echoed through the room as the entire church joined together in the singing of the fight song.
There is no doubt that Wake Forest was an integral part of Abe’s life. Whether he was gathering friends to watch the Deacs on TV, coordinating a reunion of the Has-Beens, or gathering groups of family, coworkers or friends to attend our games and events, he was a true leader for the Wake Forest fan base. As we work to implement John Currie’s vision to provide the passion and spirit that will inspire and motivate our teams to the next level and support our university and community, we are counting on more people to carry on the legacy of those like Abe Elmore. Take a leadership role and do your part to encourage others to wear black and gold, attend more games and demand the ACC Network. Most of all, get excited because there’s a lot to look forward to. Go Deacs!
(Please note: This article was originally published in the June 2019 issue of Gold Rush.)