Less than a week after parting ways with Danny Manning, Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported this morning that Wake Forest was on the verge of hiring East Tennessee State’s Steve Forbes as its next head basketball coach.
That report became a fact earlier this afternoon when the school announced the deal had been finalized.
The 55-year-old Forbes won at least 24 games in each of his five seasons as head coach at ETSU. He took the Buccaneers to the 2017 NCAA Tournament and they were poised to make a second Tournament appearance — and potentially make a nice run — before the global pandemic cancelled the 2020 NCAA Tourney.
Forbes led the Buccaneers to a 30-4 overall record and a 16-2 mark in Southern Conference play this past season. ETSU won handily at LSU in non-conference play and won the SoCon Tournament. Many bracketologists had ETSU pegged as a No. 10 or No. 11 seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
Forbes posted records of 24-12, 27-8, 25-9, 24-10 and 30-4 during his tenure at ETSU. That’s a 130-43 overall record (75.1%) and he went 71-19 in SoCon action (78.9%).
Forbes’ only other head-coaching gigs were at the JUCO level. From 1995-98, he compiled a 68-28 record (70.8%) at Barton County Community College. He was the head coach at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Fla., (near Destin in the panhandle) for two seasons from 2011-13.
Forbes took Northwest Florida State to the finals of the NJCAA Tournament both years, only to finish second each time. He went 32-2 and 30-4 for a 62-6 combined record (91.2%).
From 2000-2011, Forbes had stints as an assistant at La. Tech, Illinois State, Texas A&M and Tennessee. He was on Bruce Pearl’s staff at UT from 2006-11, but was let go when the school ousted Pearl and his entire staff amid an NCAA investigation.
Forbes worked on Gregg Marshall’s staff at Wichita State for two seasons between his time in Niceville and arriving at ETSU.
Goodman also reported that ETSU assistant Jason Shay will be a prime candidate to replace Forbes in Johnson City.