Coach Jeff Bzdelik

Wake Forest University head basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik

The days of asking Jeff Bzdelik a live question on his weekly Jeff Bzdelik Show are past.

Starting tonight, for the first time in the 17 years Stan Cotten has served as host of the Deacons’ radio show for coaches, questions must be recorded or submitted through electronic messaging.

Bzdelik will not appear on tonight’s show because it conflicts with a practice that had to be scheduled to accommodate the players’ final exams. Randolph Childress, the Deacons’ director of player development, will substitute for Bzdelik.

But the format of taking direct questions was changed after a particularly contentious show last Thursday, when several callers were especially pointed in their criticism or long-winded, or both.

Cotten said the decision was made by he and others at IMG College, which produces the show heard locally at 7 p.m. on WBRF 98.1 FM and WEGO 980AM, as well as on the web at BlueRidgeCountry98.com.

Ron Wellman, Wake Forest’s director of athletics, said he agreed with the decision.

“More and more schools have eliminated the call-in, because callers tend to get on and, rather than asking a question, they preach,” Wellman said. “And this is our show. This is an opportunity to talk about Wake Forest basketball, the direction we’re going. And if the fans want to ask a question, we’ll respond to a question.

“But to use it as a platform for fans to preach to us isn’t the purpose of the show. We’re there to hear Jeff Bzdelik or whatever guests we might have on the show.”

North Carolina and N.C. State have both changed the formats of how callers to their coaches’ shows ask questions. Roy Williams and Mark Gottfried do not take direct questions from callers, according to media-relations officials from the schools.

Cotten said the specific intent is not to deflect criticism.

“It can’t be all rose petals,” Cotton said. “And we know that.

“We just wanted to decide how to best use our hour on the air.”

dcollins@wsjournal.com

(336) 727-7323

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