Just days after Wake Forest fired coach Danny Manning, the school has found his successor.
Wake Forest officially hired former East Tennessee State coach Steve Forbes on Thursday, the school announced.
“I'm extremely excited for the opportunity to be the head men's basketball coach at Wake Forest University," Forbes said in a statement. “I'm very appreciative of President Nathan Hatch and Director of Athletics John Currie for giving me the opportunity to work with a terrific group of young men.
“Coming to Wake Forest presents an opportunity to be a part of a special brand and a chance to impact our student-athletes' lives in a positive way while competing for championships. My highest priority is spending time and developing relationships with our current student-athletes, alumni and the young men who will make up the future of Demon Deacon basketball.”
— Wake Forest Sports (@DemonDeacons) April 30, 2020
Forbes found tremendous success at ETSU, compiling an impressive 130-43 record in his five seasons in Johnson City. He won two Southern Conference regular season and conference tournament titles.
They were set to make their second NCAA tournament appearance under Forbes this season after finishing the year with a 30-4 record, however the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Leaving ETSU was not an easy decision for me and for my family," Forbes said in a statement. "I will be eternally grateful to President Dr. Brian Noland, the fans, and those student-athletes with whom I shared such special experiences. They have taught me so much and changed my life."
The Lone Tree, Iowa, native will replace Manning, who struggled in his six seasons with the Demon Deacons.
Manning went just 78-111 at Wake Forest and reached the NCAA tournament only once. They finished with a 13-18 record this year — following back-to-back 11-win seasons — and were knocked out of the ACC tournament in the first round. That game was played before the conference canceled its tournament completely due to the coronavirus.
"Coach Forbes has an incredible track record of success, matched only by his reputation for building strong and lasting relationships," Currie said in a statement. "He operates with a high level of intensity and is not only an effective coach on the floor, but a great recruiter as well. We welcome him and his family to Deacon Nation and I'm looking forward to supporting him and his staff as they build a championship program both on and off the court.
"Thanks to all of the advantages of Wake Forest, Winston-Salem and the ACC we had an incredible array of talented coaches who wanted this job. As we worked through the process, Coach Forbes emerged as the absolute right person to lead Demon Deacon basketball back to ACC and national prominence."
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