WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Record-setting crowds came out to David F. Couch Ballpark last weekend to cheer on the Deacs, as they rode through the first Winston-Salem Regional since 2002 en route to this weekend’s Super Regional matchup against the Florida Gators.
While waiting for what became the final game of the regional, we caught up with Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman to chat about the historic weekend.
On how the weekend has gone
Wellman: “It couldn’t have been better. You look at the crowds and the atmosphere. I’ve seen a lot of regional tournaments, and Saturday night was as good of an atmosphere as I’ve ever seen. It was that good. We’re really pleased with everything that has transpired. We look forward to many of these in the future.”
On Wake earning acclaim from national baseball writers
Wellman: “It makes you feel good. It makes you feel good about who’s leading the program, in Tom Walter. We wouldn’t have this is if wasn’t for him putting together the team that he has. We don’t get the type of crowd and the type of support that we’ve had this weekend without a great team. All the fans recognize that Tom has done a great job and that we have a great product that is fun to watch.”
On if this was what he had in mind when he hired Tom Walter some eight years ago
Wellman: “When we talk with coaches, and we interview them for any sport, we talk about the need to compete. We talked with Tom about winning a national championship. We’ve won a national championship. We’ve proven that it can be done at Wake Forest. Now, it’s been many years ago, but it’s a realistic goal to have. Even in our strategic plan, we recognized that as a goal and we think it’s realistic.”
On the entire athletic program having success this year
Wellman: “It’s been a very good year. In fact, this spring is the first time where we’ve had all five teams in the national rankings — the two golf teams, the two tennis teams and the baseball squad all were ranked in the top-25. All advanced to their respective NCAA Tournaments. That’s the first time that’s happened. We’re on the threshold, I think, of a golden era.