Gaudio to replace Prosser at Wake

Gaudio to replace Prosser at Wake

Gaudio to replace Prosser at Wake
August 7, 2007

Associated Press

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Wake Forest will name Dino Gaudio to succeed the late Skip Prosser on Wednesday, entrusting the Demon Deacons' program to the veteran coach's longtime top assistant.

The school planned to introduce Gaudio as its new coach at an 11 a.m. news conference, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press under the condition of anonymity because the formal announcement had not yet been made.

Gaudio, 50, had been Wake Forest's associate head coach since 2002 and was Prosser's right-hand man for nearly three decades. He returns to head coaching for the first time since leaving Loyola of Maryland in 2000.

He takes over for Prosser, who died July 26 of an apparent heart attack at the age of 56, leaving the Wake Forest community shaken by grief.

Athletics director Ron Wellman moved quickly to fill the void left by the coach whose death after a midday jog shook the college basketball world. The announcement came two days after Wellman said he was considering members of the staff, including Gaudio, fellow associate head coach Jeff Battle and assistant Pat Kelsey.

The speedy move also seems to emphasize stability and continuity to a recruiting class that's ranked as one of the nation's best. Among the commitments are forward Al-Farouq Aminu of Norcross, Ga. (ranked No. 3 nationally by Scout.com) and center Ty Walker of Wilmington (ranked No. 14 by the service).

Gaudio is considered one of the top recruiters for a Wake Forest program that groomed Josh Howard and Chris Paul into NBA stars.

Gaudio joined Prosser in 1981 at a parochial high school in West Virginia, and the native of Yorkville, Ohio, took over the program at tiny Wheeling Central in 1985 when Prosser left to join Xavier's staff.

The two paired up again two years later under Pete Gillen at Xavier and they stayed together until 1993, when Prosser moved to Loyola of Maryland and Gaudio became a college head coach for the first time at Army. Gaudio went 36-72 in four seasons with the Black Knights before moving to Loyola (Md.), where he was 32-52 before he resigned in 2000.

He rejoined Prosser the next season at Xavier, and the two moved to Wake Forest together when Wellman hired Prosser before the 2001-02 season.

Gaudio's hiring brings to a close an emotional stretch of nearly two weeks.

Shortly after Prosser returned from his noon jog 13 days ago, he was found unresponsive and slumped on his office couch by one of his assistants. Medical personnel performed CPR and used a defibrillator, but Prosser was pronounced dead after being taken to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Under Prosser the Demon Deacons won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title in 2003 and reached the NCAA tournament in his first four seasons. Wake Forest reached No. 1 in the poll for the first time during the 2004-05 season.

Prosser was head coach at Xavier for seven seasons and at Loyola of Maryland for one.

He had a career record of 291-146 as a head coach, including 126-68 with Wake Forest. He is the only coach to take three schools to the NCAA tournament in his first season at each.

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