Bill Ferguson, the volleyball coach who had been indicted in the national college admissions scandal earlier this year, has resigned, the university announced in a statement last Thursday.
Ferguson had been on administrative leave since news of the scandal broke on March 12.
“It’s essential that I step aside so that the team and coaches continue to move forward while I focus on the case and focus on my family,” Ferguson said in the statement. “I look forward to the success the program will enjoy.”
He pled not guilty on March 25, when he appeared in federal court in Boston, Mass., and was released on conditions, including bond and restricted travel.
“With the volleyball season about to begin, we appreciate and respect Bill’s wish to put the interests of the student-athletes and the program first,” Athletic Director John Currie said in the statement.
In the admissions scandal, dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues,” federal prosecutors allege that wealthy parents, such as actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, bribed athletic coaches and standardized test insiders in order to gain admission for their children into elite universities, such as Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Southern California (USC).
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, Ferguson is one of 12 coaches, either at universities or private athletic groups, involved in the case. Some coaches have pled not guilty while others have pled guilty.
“I loved our time at Wake [Forest], and I believe the volleyball program is in very good shape for the future,” Ferguson said in the statement. “Wake [Forest] is a wonderful place. I am proud of the players and assistant coaches who came through our program and those currently here.”
Randi Smart will remain as the interim head coach.
“[Smart] has done an excellent job of leading our student-athletes through this period of uncertainty,” Currie said. “We are grateful for her continued leadership of the program as we [prepared] for our first home exhibition match.”
The volleyball team played an exhibition match against Georgia last Saturday,and will officially begin its season on Aug. 30, with a game against Presbyterian College.
Read more Old Gold & Black reporting of the scandal here.