Monday, February 23, 2009

Wellman on committee a plus for ACC

ACC coaches and officials are not going to advertise this.

But at least some of them will be extremely happy that Wake Forest athletics director Ron Wellman has been selected to the Division I men’s basketball committee starting next season.

The committee’s biggest job is selecting the field for the NCAA Tournament.

No one from the ACC has served on the committee since Virginia athletics director Craig Littlepage finished his tenure in August of 2007. And privately, some in the ACC were concerned that the conference wasn’t getting as much consideration as it should when the NCAA Tournament field was selected.

There was a great deal of disappointment in the ACC last season when Virginia Tech failed to gain an at-large bid after finishing with a 9-7 conference record. Despite having the nation’s top conference RPI last season, the ACC got just four teams into the NCAA Tournament.

Although nobody on the committee serves as a representative of their particular conference, it can’t hurt the ACC to have somebody in the room who’s seen the league’s teams up close.
N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe said it’s “tremendously important” to have somebody from the ACC on the committee.

“It’s one of those things where, sort of like players, you never really know a player until you coach him,” Lowe said. “This is the same type of situation. I don’t think people will know our league the way he knows our league and will know our players. He can give them a great insight all about our league and all about our players. I think it’s great for us.”

Wellman is one of the ACC’s most influential athletics directors and has a great deal of clout throughout college athletics. He has gained respect for hiring Jim Grobe to invigorate the football program and retaining Dino Gaudio to keep the basketball team stable after Skip Prosser’s death.

There couldn’t be a better ACC representative on the committee, and people in the conference are happy to have Wellman getting ready to serve. - Ken Tysiac