Chapter Ten: 1992–1993 165
Jim Caldwell
occasions, he had been captivated by the beauty of the campus and impressed by
the quality of the students. Still, he was surprised when Tom Hearn called him on a
Sunday night and offered him the job. A press conference on October 13 announced
Wellman’s appointment and his October 26 start date. In an interview years later,
President Hearn said, “I was extremely involved in Ron’s selection, and he was an
outstanding choice.”
In accepting Wake Forest’s offer, Wellman initially came to campus alone; his
wife and three adolescent daughters had known he was in the running but never
thought he would get the position. Wellman faced bigger obstacles, however, than
living by himself. The first challenge was hiring a new football coach. Bill Dooley, 58,
had coached Wake Forest for six years (1987–1992) and announced his wish to retire
at the end of the 1992 season. Perhaps inspired by this decision, Dooley had an excel-
lent season, winning six straight games and capping the season with a 39–35 victory
over Oregon in the Poulin/Weed Eater Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The bowl victory was the first for the Deacons in forty-six years. Three of Wake For-
est’s eight winning seasons after moving to Winston-Salem were under Dooley, and
he was named ACC Coach of the Year after leading the Deacons to an 8–4 record and
the Independence Bowl victory. Dooley’s overall record at Wake Forest was twenty-
nine wins and thirty-six losses with two ties, for a winning percentage of .448, and
fourteen wins and twenty-nine losses in the ACC, for a winning percentage of .326.
In one impressive win over Clemson, the first since 1976, more than 1,000 fans tore
down both goalposts and the play clocks and uprooted pieces of turf in Groves Sta-
dium. The only downside to the Independence Bowl was a conflict for the marching
band, which had been scheduled to perform in the London Holiday Parade but had
to cancel to play at the bowl game.
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