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Wake Forest tabs Steve Forbes as next head coach

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 09 SoCon Championship - Wofford vs ETSU

ASHEVILLE, NC - MARCH 09: Steve Forbes head coach East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Buccaneers as the points roll up in the 58-72 win over the Wofford College Terriers in the Southern Conference (SoCon) Championship, Monday, March 9, 2020, at Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, North Carolina. (Photo by David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Wake Forest has hired East Tennessee State head coach Steve Forbes to replace Danny Manning.

Forbes has spent the last five seasons in Johnson City, leading the Buccaneers to a pair of SoCon regular season titles, a trip to the 2017 NCAA tournament and a 130-43 record. He never finished worse than third in the league’s regular season standings and is coming off of a season where his team when 30-4 and was in contention for an at-large bid.

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

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

ETSU was Forbes’ first Division I head coaching gig after spending more than 25 years as a Division I assistant and a head coach in the JuCo ranks. He’s worked for Billy Gillespie at Texas A&M, Bruce Pearl at Tennessee and Gregg Marshall at Wichita State. He was a part of Pearl’s staff when he was fired for violations surrounding the recruitment of Aaron Craft.

Forbes has long been considered one of the best mid-major coaches in college basketball, and his chance at a high-major gig has been overdue. It’s the first chance for Wake Forest fans to be excited about their basketball program since Dino Gaudio was fired in 2010. They have been to one NCAA tournament since then, and have not finished above .500 in ACC play in a decade; they’ve won more than six ACC games just once in the last 10 seasons.