Monday, August 6, 2007

Gaudio would ease transition at Wake

With Skip Prosser’s memorial services over, Wake Forest athletics director Ron Wellman at some point soon will turn his attention to the future of the school’s basketball program.

During Prosser’s funeral Wednesday in Clemmons, N.C., it became obvious the man for the job is Prosser’s associate head coach, Dino Gaudio. Wake Forest’s players appeared devastated by Prosser’s sudden death at age 56. Taking away the current staff from the players and forcing them to work with new coaches would traumatize them more.

Gaudio demonstrated he is ready for the job as he eulogized a man he started working with in 1981, when Gaudio assisted Prosser at Central Catholic High in Wheeling, W.Va. At an emotional time, Gaudio explained Prosser’s philosophy and devotion better than anybody else could, demonstrating the speaking ability necessary for any ACC coach to succeed.

Gaudio has been a head coach from 1997 to 2000 at Loyola of Maryland and from 1993-97 at Army. It’s been difficult for anybody to win at either place. Gaudio was 36-72 at Army – but that school has had just one winning season since Mike Krzyzewski left for Duke in 1979. Gaudio was 32-52 at Loyola, but predecessor Brian Ellerbe was 33-48 and successor Scott Hicks was 16-97.

Some have suggested the current staff be kept in place in an attempt to keep the high-profile commitments of Al-Farouq Aminu, Ty Walker and Tony Woods that gave Prosser one of the nation’s best Class of 2008 recruiting hauls. But that’s a short-term, short-sighted view, and there’s no guarantee it would work.

The reason to hire Gaudio (and give him a five-year contract) is to maintain stability when a hire from outside the program could make a chaotic situation worse. The timing of this coaching search would make it difficult to attract marquee candidates anyway.

If the man Wake Forest needs is already on campus, Wellman ought to hire him.

– Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Ken, I have to disagree with the urge to repair this horrible situation quickly.

Two words: Bob Wade.

Seemed like the right direction after a cruel development, but in reality Wade was a bad fit and it took Maryland extra years to recover.

I know the situation is not exactly the same -- Skip had none of Lefty's institutional control issues. However, to expect more than an interim choice right now just assumes too much. To give Gaudio a five-year deal right now may make a bad situation even worse.

UNC '87