Forbes' name mentioned in Wake Forest search

Joe Avento • Updated Apr 26, 2020 at 6:28 PM

The minute East Tennessee State basketball fans heard the news out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, they began to collectively sweat.

Danny Manning was fired by Wake Forest after six highly unsuccessful seasons as the school’s coach. It was a surprising move only by the timing, not the act. Manning seemed ready to survive his fifth losing season as schools appeared to be in no mood to fire coaches while the country dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.

But it happened over the weekend, and now ETSU coach Steve Forbes’ name is being mentioned as a strong candidate to replace Manning.

Of course, Forbes will be a strong candidate for any job considering his five-year record of 130-43 at ETSU and the way he injected life into the program.

Forbes has been linked to other jobs in the past couple of years, but his resume has grown stronger since. ETSU hasn’t had a down year in his five seasons, and with his team posting a 30-4 record last season and showing no signs of slowing down, he might be as hot a commodity as he’s ever going to be.

Manning was let go with five years remaining on his contract. He will reportedly be paid the $15 million he had coming.

Forbes didn’t return a text request for comment and he’s been uncharacteristically quiet on social media for the past few days.

ETSU had just finished signing its new recruiting class and from all accounts, the signees appear to have the Bucs poised for a run at another special season. The team won the Southern Conference regular-season and tournament championships this year and would have played in the NCAA Tournament had it not been canceled.

There has been talk that ETSU is working on a contract extension for Forbes, who made more than $700,000 this year including bonuses. Manning was reportedly making about $3 million a year at Wake Forest.

If ETSU does manage to keep Forbes, the Wake Forest situation could turn out to be a boon for the Bucs.

Among the other favorites to get the job are UNC Greensboro’s Wes Miller, one of Forbes’ main rivals in the Southern Conference. Miller played at North Carolina and has ties to Wake Forest. The school’s practice court is named after his father, Kenneth D. Miller, a former Wake Forest trustee and donor to the school.

Forbes and Miller are mentioned in just about every report concerning the job opening.

Wake Forest is coming off a 13-18 season, one in which it went 6-14 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Manning’s teams were 78-111 during his tenure.

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