- Associated Press - Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wake Forest announced Thursday that Jeff Bzdelik has resigned as its basketball coach.

Bzdelik was 51-76 in four mostly disappointing seasons with a 17-51 record in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

The Demon Deacons were 17-16 this year — their first winning season under him — but that wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy an increasingly splintered fan base.

Bzdelik, 61, said in a statement issued by the school that he resigned because “there needs to be a positive environment for the players to realize their potential.”

His resignation came one week after the Demon Deacons lost by 29 points to Pittsburgh in the second round of the ACC tournament — the second-most lopsided league tournament loss in school history.

The former Denver Nuggets coach came from Colorado in 2010 to replace Dino Gaudio, who was fired after making the NCAA tournament twice in three seasons.

Wake Forest took a noticeable step forward this season under talented point guard Codi Miller-McIntyre and promising big man Devin Thomas.

The Demon Deacons swept their three in-state ACC rivals in Winston-Salem, including an upset of Duke two weeks ago in what turned out to be Bzdelik’s last game at Joel Coliseum.

Their victory total in ACC play steadily increased, going from a worst-in-league-history one in 2010 to four in 2011 to six both this year and last.

Jeff is a man of great character and integrity who made every decision for the long-term benefit of the program and the university,” said athletic director Ron Wellman, who announced the move on Thursday. “Jeff felt that new leadership would help the program and allow the student-athletes to reach their full potential.”

It was an inability to win on the road that frustrated fans.

Wake Forest won just two ACC road games in Bzdelik’s four years, and both of the teams the Demon Deacons beat — Boston College in 2012 and Virginia Tech this year — went on to finish last in the league.

His rocky tenure was marked by roster attrition and head-scratching losses — a lengthy list that began with his first game at the school, a 2010 loss to a Stetson team that finished 8-23.

Part of the problem was the near-constant roster shuffling

He had just one fourth-year senior in each of the past two seasons and forward Travis McKie was the only player to last all four years under him.

Eight players transferred out during his tenure, including J.T. Terrell and Ari Stewart (Southern California), Tony Chennault (Villanova), Carson Desrosiers (Providence), Anthony Fields (Bradley) and Chase Fischer (BYU).

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