During the 1995–96 NCAA season, the Wake Forest team lost Childress, who had graduated the previous season and entered the NBA. In Childress’s absence, Duncan led the team to a 12–4 record for their ACC season, and a 26–6 record overall. The Demon Deacons won the ACC Finals again, but in the Sweet 16, Duncan came down with the flu, and his team missed the Final Four. His season averages of 19.1 points and 12.3 rebounds per game led to another ACC Defensive Player of the Year award and his first ACC Player of the Year award. Although the Wake Forest star was now rumored to be entering the 1996 NBA draft, he stayed in college.
In the 1996–97 NCAA season, new 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) Demon Deacon and future NBA player Loren Woods eased the pressure on Duncan close to the basket. The 1996-97 team won their first 13 games, but then came a slump, and they failed to win a third ACC title. Later, during the NCAA tournament, Stanford University, led by future NBA point guard Brevin Knight, eliminated Wake Forest with a 72–66 win. Duncan finished his senior season with career-high averages of 20.8 points, 14.7 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game while shooting .606 from the field and winning the Defensive Player of the Year for a third straight season. He earned first-team All-American honors for the second time and was a unanimous pick for both the Oscar Robertson Trophy and Naismith College Player of the Year. Duncan was first in the 1996–97 NCAA Division I in rebounding, tenth in blocked shots (3.3 bpg), and 28th in scoring (20.8 ppg). He has voted ACC Player of the Year again and, based on the votes of sportscasters and news writers won the 1997 John Wooden Award as the NCAA’s best overall male player.
In contrast to contemporary prep-to-pro players like Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, Tracy McGrady, or Kobe Bryant, Duncan stayed in college for a full four years. During that period, he was a two-time ACC Player of the Year and a three-time NABC Defensive Player of the Year. The center also made the All-ACC Tournament between 1995 and 1997 and the All-ACC First Team between 1995 and 1997. In 1996, he led the ACC in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, and blocked shots, becoming the first player in conference history to lead all four of those categories. That same year, he was also named Most Valuable Player of the ACC Tournament. Overall, Duncan led his team to a 97–31 win-loss record and finished his college career as the all-time leading rebounder in NCAA history in the post-1973 era (a mark later surpassed by Kenneth Faried). Duncan left college as the all-time leading shot-blocker in ACC history with 481 blocks—at the time second in NCAA annals behind Colgate’s Adonal Foyle—and third on the ACC career rebounding list with 1,570 rebounds.
In college, Duncan co-authored a chapter in the social psychology book Aversive Interpersonal Behaviors. After earning his college degree, Duncan became eligible for the 1997 NBA draft.
The most successful season in team history took place in 2007 when Wake Forest won the NCAA Division I Championship in a 2–1 decision over Ohio State. It marked the program’s only championship to date. During their championship run, the No. 2 seeded Deacons defeated Furman 1–0, No. 15 West Virginia 3–1, and No. 10 Notre Dame 2–1 in overtime to reach the College Cup. In the semifinals, Marcus Tracy scored twice in a 2–0 win over Virginia Tech. In the final, Wake Forest scored two second-half goals to come from behind to defeat Ohio State 2-1 to win the National Championship.
Wake Forest has won a total of nine national championships in five different sports; five of these championships have come since 2002. Wake Forest is sometimes referred to as being a part of “Tobacco Road” or “The Big Four”, terms that refer to the four North Carolina schools that compete heatedly against each other within the ACC; these include Duke University, North Carolina, and North Carolina State, as well as Wake Forest.
Student attendance of Wake Forest football and basketball games was formerly high, in part due to the program known as “Screamin’ Demons”. At the beginning of each respective athletic season students on the Reynolda Campus can sign up for the program whereby they pay $15 for each season; in addition to the slightly better seats than the other students in football (not enforced) and seats behind the rim in basketball, this gets students a football shirt in the fall and a tie-dye T-shirt in the spring along with a card that serves as an automatic pass to the sporting events. They lose this privilege if they miss two of the games. Most students sign up because ticket distribution to non-Screamin’ Demons is unreliable. Through the planning of Sports Marketing and the Screamin’ Demons program, basketball game seats in the students section are difficult to attain without participating in the Screamin’ Demons program. In 2011, sports marketing lowered the student allotment, and very few students currently attend.
College Sports Established
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Wake Forest University
1973 – Present / NCAA Division 1
1922 – 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
1953 – Present / ACC Conference
1936 – 1953 / Southern Conference
Demon Deacons – As a Baptist College in North Carolina, Wake Forest athletic teams were originally known as the “Baptists” or “The Old Gold and Black”, and they sported a tiger for a mascot. However, during the 1923 season, the editor of the school newspaper created the alliteration “Demon Deacons” to describe how the Baptists played in a major win over Duke, the impressive win against Trinity College (predecessor of Duke University) a newspaper reporter wrote that the Deacons “fought like Demons”, giving rise to the current team name, the “Demon Deacons.” Henry Belk, the school’s publicity director, liked the phrase and incorporated the nickname into his press releases. With the Baptists in the midst of their first winning season in 30 years, newspapers from around the country started to proclaim the success of the Demon Deacons, and the name stood.
Men’s Basketball 0
Women’s Basketball 0