Forbes inks long-term extension at Wake Forest

Wake Forest University and head men’s basketball coach Steve Forbes have signed a long-term contract extension, director of athletics John Currie announced today. 

“My family and I are incredibly proud and extremely grateful to call Wake Forest and Winston-Salem our home,” Forbes said. “We place a high value on the incredible commitment and unwavering support that we have received from John Currie, President Susan R. Wente, and the entire Wake Forest community since our arrival. I believe in John Currie, and he believes in me. We both share a common vision regarding the future success of Wake Forest Basketball, on and off the court. Every conversation that he and I have ever had always ends with him asking me the following question, ‘What more can I do to help you and your program be successful?’ This extension is a result of President Wente, John Currie and Wake Forest University’s steadfast belief in me, my staff, my players, and the future of our program.”

“We have witnessed Coach Steve Forbes‘ leadership, and the incredible job he and his staff have done mentoring our men’s basketball student-athletes,” President Susan R. Wente, Ph.D. said. “His team’s successes give us confidence for the future. I greatly appreciate how Coach Forbes has embraced Wake Forest’s high standards for academics and character, and how his innovative and positive energy have given our University and Winston-Salem communities much to look forward to in the years ahead.”

“Twenty-two months ago, amidst the uncertainty of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Coach Steve Forbes took on the task of rebuilding Wake Forest men’s basketball and returning the Demon Deacons to the level of competitive excellence that has been the hallmark of our program’s history,” Currie said. “Coach Forbes, his family, and his staff have poured themselves into reviving Demon Deacons basketball and in turn have brought an infectious energy to Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, our beautiful Reynolda campus and the Winston-Salem community. It is fitting that he is being honored as the ACC Coach of  the Year on the same day we announce this long-term mutual commitment. I expect Coach Forbes will finish his career as a Demon Deacon and in the process hang multiple championship banners inside Joel Coliseum and the incredible Shah Basketball Complex.”

Coach Forbes was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year and fifth-year guard Alondes Williams was selected as the ACC Player of the Year earlier today. Additionally, Williams was tabbed as a First Team All-ACC performer while junior forward Jake LaRavia earned All-ACC Second Team accolades. Forbes is the fifth Wake Forest coach to earn the honor and the first since Skip Prosser in 2003. That same season, Josh Howard took home Player of the Year honor and was the last Demon Deacon to garner this prestigious honor. With Williams and LaRavia’s selection on the All-ACC First and Second Team, respectively, they are the first Wake Forest tandem to garner that honor since 2005 (Chris Paul First Team, Justin Gray and Eric Williams Second Team).

Coach Forbes, his staff, and student-athletes changed the perception of Wake Forest men’s basketball this winter, capping the regular season with a huge Senior Night victory over Big Four rival NC State on March 2. Additionally, the Deacs home court advantage and stellar play on the floor led to a special evening on Jan. 22 when Wake Forest defeated North Carolina by 22 points (98-76) and the student body celebrated the win on the court and on Hearn Plaza that evening. This season marks the first since 2004-05 that Wake Forest has swept both North Carolina and NC State. 

Overall, during the 2021-22 season, Wake Forest tied the single-season program record for ACC wins with 13 (2004-05, 2002-03) and home victories with 16 (2004-05, 2002-03). 

The Deacs 13 conference victories this season represented a 10-win increase from last season, setting an ACC record for the biggest year-to-year improvement in league history. Additionally, Wake Forest became the first ACC program to boast nine league victories by 15 points or more since Virginia did so in the 2018-19 season. 

Remarkably, Wake Forest (23-8) is also on pace to set an NCAA Division I record for the most-improved team from one season to the next. The current official record is 17 ½ games by Towson (2012, 1-31; 2013; 18-13). The Deacs have won 17 more games than in 20-21 entering this week’s ACC Tournament in Brooklyn.

The 2021-22 season was a season of “most since” as the Deacs earned numerous accolades beyond those already mentioned:

  • First Road ACC Wins at … 
    • Virginia since Feb. 6, 2010.
    • Georgia Tech since Feb. 22, 2004.
    • Florida State since Feb. 14, 2008.
  • With its wins at UVA and GT in back-to-back road contests, Wake Forest secured its first two-straight road win streak in league play since the 2008-09 season. 
  • The Deacs won both their conference home and road opener for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign.
  • Wake Forest won three games in overtime (Oregon State, Northwestern, Syracuse) for the first time since winning five OT contests during the 2009-10 season.
  • With its 98-76 win over North Carolina inside Joel Coliseum on Jan. 22, Wake Forest won its second-straight home game over the Tar Heels for the first time since 2002 (90-66, 2/6/2002) and 2003 (75-60, 3/5/2003).
    • Additionally, the 22-point victory (98-76) over the Tar Heels in January marked Wake Forest’s biggest win over UNC since Feb. 6, 2002.
    • Wake Forest’s 98 points were the second-most points the program has ever scored against North Carolina, behind only the 1964-65 team’s 107-85 victory (1/6/1965).
  • When the Deacs defeated Boston College on Jan. 24, Wake Forest clinched its first four-game winning streak in regular season ACC play since the 2009-10 season. 
    • The Deacs’ 30-point margin-of-victory (87-57) over the Eagles was the program’s largest over Boston College and the largest over an ACC opponent since the team defeated NC State 88-58 on February 2, 2017.
  • Prior to setting multiple records in conference play, Wake Forest recorded its most non-conference wins since the 2013-14 season (10).
  • Wake Forest reached 20 overall wins for the first time since the 2009-10 season (20-11) and 10 conference wins since the 2008-09 season (11-5).
    • Additionally, the Demon Deacons became the first ACC team to reach 20 overall and 10 conference wins this season. 
  • The Deacs’ five ACC road wins this season were the most since 2004-05.

The Best Fan Experience in North Carolina has been buoyed this winter by the incredible support of everyone in the Wake Forest and Winston-Salem community, but specifically students. Total student home game attendance exceeded 11,500 students inside LJVM Coliseum, which is the most since the 2008-09 season and up 144% from the 2019-20 season and 216% from the 2018-19 campaign.

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