The campaign got underway with the good news that the Z.
Smith Reynolds Foundation had made a pledge of two million dollars
and the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation had committed one
and a half million: virtually enough to guarantee the construction
of the theatre and art wings of the Fine Arts Center. Optimistic
about the future, the Trustees directed
that all “undesignated gifts” in excess of
the goal of $8,590,000 would be applied
to the cost of building the music wing.
Another “real” problem that the
University continued to face was how
to develop and maintain the most suc-
cessful athletic program possible for a
school like Wake Forest, participating
as it did in a strong conference, where
it was the smallest institution among
seven members, and on the national
scene, where it vied with Rice University
for being the smallest school in the
NCAA’s Division I-A.
In the so-called “non-revenue sports”
Wake Forest was regularly competitive.
Under Coach Jim Leighton, who had
come to Wake Forest from Presbyterian
College in 1962, the tennis team enjoyed success: a 99–35 record
over the six years from 1966 to 1972 and a second-place Confer-
ence finish in 1972. In baseball, though not as successful as it once
was or as it would be again, there were loving memories of teams
from the last decade on the old campus, including the 1955 team
which had won the national championship. In swimming, under
Coach Leo Ellison, and in track and field, there were solid achieve-
ments. And in golf, under the already legendary coach, Jesse Had-
dock, the team won a seventh straight Conference championship;
and even greater honors were to come.
Unfortunately perhaps, the public—and even a campus—judges
a sports program by its record in football and basketball. The fall
of 1972 was a troublesome time for football: following an opening
win, the team lost seven straight games, and Tom Harper, in his
first year as head coach, having been offered a chance to resign, was
Coach Leo Ellison