Shay named Assistant Basketball Coach at Wake Forest

Wake Forest head men’s basketball coach Steve Forbes has announced that his long-time colleague and outstanding basketball coach Jason Shay will be joining the Demon Deacons coaching staff.

While helping student-athletes achieve their goals on and off the floor, Jason Shay is a veteran coach that has been a part of one Elite Eight appearance, three Sweet 16 runs, 10 NCAA Tournaments and five conference championships in his 20 years as a collegiate coach. 

Coach Forbes and Shay have spent 12 seasons working together at East Tennessee State (2015-2020), Northwest Florida State College (2011-13) and Tennessee (2006-11) where the duo has led those institutions to an astounding 315-101 overall record, which is an average of 26 wins per season.  

“Jason (Shay) has one of the brightest minds in all of college basketball,” Forbes said. “I have total confidence in his ability to assist our players in becoming the best versions of themselves, on and off the court. During our 12 years together on the bench, we have accomplished a lot of thrilling lifetime memories, and I look forward to creating many more of these memories at Wake Forest in the years to come.”

“My family and I are extremely appreciative to be a part of Coach (Steve) Forbes’ staff and join the incredible Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem community,” Shay said. “I can’t wait to get on campus and create relationships and help our players reach their full potential competitively and academically. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Forbes as we have enjoyed 12 extremely successful seasons together on the same staff. Additionally, I have great respect and relationships with Brooks Savage, BJ McKie, Mike Starke and Frank Davis. I look forward to helping Coach Forbes and the staff build on the rich tradition and success of Demon Deacons basketball. 

With Shay’s addition to the coaching staff, this continues a trend of continuity and success of where Coach Steve Forbes has coached throughout his career. Forbes, Shay and current Demon Deacon coach Brooks Savage have worked together for years at Tennessee (four years), Northwest Florida State College (one year) and ETSU (five years) and experienced success on and off the floor at each institution. 

Additionally, Wake Forest assistant coach BJ McKie was an assistant coach during the the groups final three seasons in Johnson City as well before coming to Wake Forest in 2020. 

Shay, who spent last season as East Tennessee State’s head coach, coached now Wake Forest redshirt freshman Damari Monsanto to Southern Conference Freshman of the Year and third team All-Conference honors in 2020-21. After redshirting under Forbes in his true freshman season two years ago, Monsanto played in all 25 games with 20 starts for the Buccaneers during last year, averaging 11.8 points and 7.3 rebounds in 27.4 minutes. 

In his lone season as the Bucs head coach Coach Shay was named a finalist for the 2020-21 Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented annually to the top first-year coach in Division I college basketball. Shay led the Blue and Gold to a 13-win campaign, including eight in Southern Conference play. ETSU sat atop the league standings through the first seven games of the season as they won six of its first seven SoCon games. The Bucs defeated every team they played in conference at least once, including a 71-61 road win at regular season champion UNC Greensboro. 

Prior to coming to Johnson City, Shay held assistant coaching stints at North Dakota (2013-15), Northwest Florida State College (2011-13), Tennessee (2005-11), Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2003-05) and Mercyhurst (Pa.) College (1999-2001). Throughout those stops, Shay had a streak of helping lead teams to nine-consecutive postseason berths at the Division I level, including Tennessee’s first-ever trip to the Elite Eight in 2010 and a Sweet 16 run at Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005. 

Shay, a native of Galesburg, Ill., was a walk-on at the University of Iowa for Dr. Tom Davis where he earned his bachelor’s degree in health promotion in 1995. Shay then graduated with a master’s degree from Western Illinois in 1998. 

Shay and his wife, Jana, have a daughter, Peija; and a son Joah.

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