Let’s Speculate! Potential Wake Forest head basketball coach candidates

Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.

Today’s program is Wake Forest, coached for the last six seasons by Danny Manning (fired on April 25th).

  • Wes Miller – UNC Greensboro head coach
    • A Greensboro-native and North Carolina grad who has spent his whole career in the Tar Heel State, coaching at UNC Greensboro, High Point and Elon. He’s been UNCG head coach since 2011 and is currently in the midst of his fourth-straight 20-win season to get what will likely be his fifth-straight postseason berth. At just 37, Miller has a long coaching career ahead of him and may be the type of guy that sticks around for a long time. That is unless he is waiting out Roy Williams at UNC…
  • Ryan Odom – UMBC head coach
    • Odom is an up-and-comer who burst onto the national scene (and into the record books) two years ago when his 16-seed UMBC Retrievers smashed 1-seed Virginia in the NCAA Tournament. That wasn’t just a flash in the pan either, as Odom won 21+ games in each of his first four full seasons as a head coach (three at UMBC and one at D-II Lenoir-Rhyne in NC). He’s got the local connections too, as a Durham-native and the son of former Wake Forest (and South Carolina, East Carolina) head coach Dave Odom.
  • Pat Kelsey – Winthrop head coach
    • A member of the Skip Prosser coaching tree, Kelsey was an assistant at Wake Forest from 2001-09. He’s been the guy at Winthrop for the last seven-plus seasons, winning over 150 games and winning two Big South titles. Kelsey briefly took to UMass job in 2017 before retreating back to Winthrop, but Wake Forest is of course a bigger and better gig.
  • Bob Richey – Furman head coach
    • Another young mid-major head coach, Richey has had immediate success at Furman. He won 23 and 25 games in his first two years, respectively and may win a competitive SoCon this season. Richey graduated from North Greenville University in South Carolina and also coached at Charleston Southern earlier in his career.
  • Steve Forbes – East Tennessee State head coach
    • A name that will come up with every high-major opening this year and all future openings until he makes the jump. Forbes has won 24+ games in each of his five years at the helm of the Bucs, winning two SoCon titles and SoCon Tournaments. A consistent winner who has as good as or a better resume than any other mid-major head coach that would be in contention.
  • Russell Turner – UC Irvine head coach
    • A former Wake Forest assistant (1994-2000) under Dave Odom, Turner has turned UC Irvine into the toast of the Big West over the last ten seasons. He’s led the Anteaters to five Big West titles in the last seven seasons (including this year) and he’s just a few weeks away from a seventh-straight postseason appearance. Though his coaching career took him out West – he worked for Mike Montgomery at Stanford and with the Golden State Warriors before taking the UCI job – he’s originally from the East coast. He played at D-III Hampden-Sydney in his native Virginia and started out coaching there in 1993 before landing in Winston-Salem.
  • Thad Matta – former Ohio State head coach
    • After stepping away from Ohio State for health reasons in 2017, Matta’s name has been thrown around for a number of high-major jobs. He has expressed interest in finding another head coaching opportunity and has reportedly even interviewed with several schools. Wake might be a good landing spot for Matta, as the 52-year old has experience with private schools (he coached at Butler and Xavier for Ohio State). His stature and resume would certainly signal to the rest of Tobacco Road that Wake is serious about competing for ACC titles.

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