March 9-15, 2006
naked cityHer Father's Daughter
Talking with Erin Wade about life in Ed's shadow.
And her pop, Ed Wade, the embattled former general manager the Phillies sent sailing last Columbus Day? He's already sunning himself at yet another spring training as a newly hired pro scout for the San Diego Padres. Though dad's Philly tenure was tumultuous, Erin whose own foray into management began with her brother Ryan's ice hockey team at Bishop Eustace Prep in Pennsauken has had a comparatively rosy time of it. What's it like being the daughter of the man Phillies fans love to hate? How does she deal with the heckling? Has her success caused any tension around the dinner table? We checked in with Erin the night Villanova reached No. 2, matching its best ranking in history.
City Paper: How did your dad take the Phillies' decision?
Erin Wade: I imagine others would have been irate. I'm not saying he was fine with it, and obviously he was hurt and upset, but he handled it with such class. He came home, then went back for the press conference. I helped him pack up his office and we haven't been back since.
CP: Didn't you work the last five summers as a Phillies' intern? You shared some of those final days with your dad. What was that like?
EW: He was working as if it was business as usual until the day he was notified there'd be a change. I was home on fall break, and [Phillies president] Mr. [David] Montgomery called and wanted my dad to come in so he went to work on a day the offices were closed. I remember I didn't like the feeling I had.
CP: Do you know basketball as well as your dad knows baseball?
EW: Before Villanova, I didn't know anything about basketball. I didn't even know what March Madness was. In the winter, I was at ice rinks. We were big Flyers fans. My parents still are.
CP: What do you want to be when you "grow up"?
EW: I always wanted to work in the music industry. Not as a singer, but as a manager or in public relations. The more I work in sports, the more I want to stay in sports.
CP: As an agent?
EW: No way. With my dad? That would be his worst nightmare if his daughter became an agent.
CP: Are you athletic?
EW: I was more the artsy drama club member. I was the academic type, the one who was always studying. I grew up on a baseball diamond, but it was always behind the scenes. I tried softball, but that didn't last very long.
CP: Why 'Nova?
EW: I had this dream of going to California or someplace far away. The problem was my parents didn't have the same dream.
CP: Villanova almost suffered what would have been an embarrassing midseason loss at St. Joe's. Nova was down by 12 at the half before a comeback, but that game was a nightmare before it even started. Didn't you and the team get a heckling from hell?
EW: I walked in the door myself about two hours before the game. The problem was, they let their fans in four hours before the game. I recognized the one guy in their student section because I went to high school with him. He told everyone I was Ed Wade's daughter.
CP: How bad was the ribbing?
EW: They started chanting, [new GM Pat] "Gillick's better," "Your dad's a loser," and stuff like that. What they said to me, I could laugh off, but then they started taking personal attacks at our players. For example, [senior guard] Randy Foye's mother left him an orphan at age 5, so they were saying, "Regina Foye's a whore."
CP: Your dad called himself a "lightning rod for criticism." How did you handle the attention?
EW: After 21 years, I'm used to it, but it's especially worse in Philly where you have so many diehard fans. I usually keep my mouth shut, but that night I looked them in the eye, smiled and made a hand gesture that told them to bring it on.
CP: Your reaction and an off-the-cuff remark you made in casual conversation to Comcast [claiming without regard for truth that the Eustace classmate applied to 'Nova but didn't get accepted] were out of character, right?
EW: Normally what managers say isn't news, but I guess with my dad and the whole atmosphere that night in the Palestra It was a sharp tongue, I know. I inherited it from my dad. Most people don't know it. They think he's quiet, but he has a sharp tongue. It's come out around the dinner table, but we were raised to be polite.
CP: Your dad's made most of your games the past four years. What did he say?
EW: He wasn't there, but I text-messaged him during the game, and told him they were killing me. He knows what it's like. I laughed with him later when he found out [that the brouhaha] made it onto WIP and Comcast.
CP: Philly's tested your family, hasn't it?
EW: At Phillies games, people would say things, but we never said anything back. My dad always told us not to listen to it, and we never listened to WIP or read the newspapers. I know deep down how hard he worked and why he made (or didn't make) certain moves by just listening to him talk on his cell phone.
CP: Your Wildcats are having the kind of season your father only dreamed about with the Phillies. What's it been like so far?
EW: Exciting and crazy. People just look at us differently. We see so many more [Villanova] T-shirts and sweatshirts. There are more kids taking [campus] tours. Our application rate is probably going to go up because of this team.
CP: What's the skinny on coach Jay Wright? Is he that good? Does he deserve his new seven-year contract?
EW: From [my] first day on campus, I've just always thought he's the nicest person I've ever met. A lot of people put him on a pedestal like he's a god, but he's a normal, down-to-earth guy. When this recruiting class was considered the best in the country its freshman year, and then it wasn't panning out, people started saying negative things about him. It's going to be really great if he gets a [NCAA] championship under his belt.