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It's official: Forbes headed to Wake Forest

Joe Avento • Updated Apr 30, 2020 at 2:18 PM

It’s official. Steve Forbes’ successful tenure as East Tennessee State basketball coach is over.

ETSU athletic director Scott Carter confirmed Thursday that Forbes has been named the new men’s basketball coach at Wake Forest. Carter also announced that Jason Shay has been named ETSU’s interim head coach.

“ETSU is very proud of coach Steve Forbes and his historic work for our basketball program,” Carter said. “Championship culture at ETSU was restored under his leadership and I particularly want to thank him for the outstanding young men he has recruited to ETSU that have represented our university with character and dedication. We will all miss Steve, Johnetta and the entire Forbes family and wish them happiness in Winston-Salem.”

Forbes, who spent the last five seasons as the head coach at ETSU, compiled an overall record of 130-43 (.751), and directed the Bucs to two Southern Conference tournament championships. 

His latest team posted a program-record 30 wins en route to capturing both the SoCon regular season and tournament titles. The 130 wins are the most over a five-year run in program history.

“Following the successful season of our men’s basketball program, that was unfortunately cut short, it is not surprising that Steve Forbes would rise to the top of the search and ultimately be named head coach for Wake Forest,” ETSU President Brian Noland said. “His selection speaks to the caliber of East Tennessee State University as one of the top mid-major programs in the nation. I have enjoyed watching Coach Forbes lead the ETSU men’s basketball program for the last five years and wish he and his family the best during this transition.”

Forbes, who will officially be introduced during a news conference on Friday, becomes the 23rd coach in Wake Forest history. He replaces the fired Danny Manning. Forbes says he couldn’t pass up Wake Forest’s offer.

“I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to be the head men’s basketball coach at Wake Forest University,” Forbes said in a statement released by the school. “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.

“Leaving ETSU was not an easy decision for me and for my family. 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.”

Shay takes over as the interim head coach after spending the last five seasons as an assistant at ETSU. Read more about him here.

ETSU said a national search for a new head coach will begin immediately.


Previous story:

East Tennessee State basketball coach Steve Forbes has become the front runner to become the next coach at Wake Forest, according to a report.

A story posted on 247sports.com says Forbes has emerged as the favorite to replace the fired Danny Manning at the Atlantic Coast Conference school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Citing sources close to the situation, the report said negotiations between Forbes and the school were moving quickly and a deal could come as soon as Thursday.

An announcement could come as soon as 2 p.m. Thursday.

Manning was reportedly making $3 million a year. Forbes made a little over $700,000 this year, counting bonuses.

Forbes has gone 130-43 in five seasons at ETSU. His latest team was 30-4 and won the Southern Conference regular-season and tournament championships.

UNC Greensboro’s Wes Miller is also a candidate at Wake Forest, which was 13-18 and tied for last in the ACC at 6-14 this season.

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