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Shay to become Bucs coach

Joe Avento • Updated May 6, 2020 at 7:43 PM

Jason Shay will become the head men’s basketball coach at East Tennessee State, according to a source close to the school.

Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported that Shay will be hired to replace Steve Forbes, who left for the job at Wake Forest. A source close to the situation confirmed that report Wednesday afternoon.

An official announcement is expected to come sometime Thursday.

Shay coached with Forbes for 12 years, including the last five as an assistant at ETSU. They also spent five years together at Tennessee and two in the junior college ranks.

Forbes had endorsed Shay for the job, saying he’s ready and deserving.

New Mexico State coach Chris Jans, one of Forbes’ closest friends in the business, announced he would stay put Wednesday afternoon. He was rumored to be in the mix, although ETSU never confirmed that.

ETSU President Brian Noland said Tuesday during a virtual town hall meeting that he was taking his time to make sure he picked the correct coach for the job. Athletic Director Scott Carter and retired AD Richard Sander were also part of the search.

Kentucky assistant Joel Justus was also considered for the job.

The Bucs are coming off a 30-4 season, one which culminated in a Southern Conference tournament championship.

Shay has been to the NCAA Tournament 12 times as a player and a coach. He is a former walk-on at Iowa, where he played for the legendary Tom Davis.

He had been named interim coach after Forbes took the Wake Forest job. Had ETSU not hired Shay, Forbes said he would have a spot on his staff at Wake.

ETSU’s players were reportedly in Shay’s corner as well.

Shay had a hand in recruiting the entire roster, including the five players signed to the latest recruiting class.

At least one former ETSU player, T.J. Cromer, endorsed the hiring on Twitter saying “If you know basketball and what really went on the inside at ETSU Shay is the better hire. Forget a name and all the other things.”

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