Reports: Wake Forest parting ways with basketball coach Danny Manning

wake forestWake Forest is finally moving on from the Danny Manning era, after a six-year run that saw the Demon Deacons post a 78-111 record, including a 30-80 mark in ACC play.

The 2019-2020 season saw the Demon Deacons finish 13-18, the fifth losing season in Manning’s tenure, all five of which had the Demon Deacons lose at least 18 games.

It’s an odd time, to say the least, to be in the market for a new coach. Schools usually make these decisions in the immediate aftermath of their seasons to get themselves into position to compete for the pool of replacements.

The odd end to the 2019-2020 season, which came two days after Wake’s 81-72 loss to Pitt in the opening round of the ACC Tournament, is a likely contributing factor there.

After that game, the first question in the postgame presser asked Manning if he expected to be back next year.

His answer: “Absolutely.”

“I think our team has definitely improved,” Manning said. “I think if you look at the individuals that are on our team and how they have come from where they were last year to where they’re at right now, I think without question there’s been improvement. I think when I look at our team, I think the young men have put forth great effort. Extremely proud of this group, and I definitely feel like we have taken some steps, not as many as I would like, not where I’m content with where we’re at, but I certainly feel like we have taken those steps in a direction that I want our program to go in.”

There was a brief glimmer for the 2019-2020 Deacs in late February, a two-game stretch that had Wake beating Duke in OT and Notre Dame by 11.

But the loss to Pitt was the fifth in the final seven games for the Deacs, who have won more than six games in conference play only once in Manning’s tenure, in 2016-2017, when the team finished 19-14, 9-9 in the ACC, and made the program’s lone NCAA Tournament appearance under Manning.

The rebuild for the next man up at Wake Forest will have to make a go without this season’s leading scorer Brandon Childress (15.5 ppg) and Andrien White (9.2 ppg).

The building blocks will be 7’0” junior center Olivier Sarr (13.7 ppg, 9.0 rebs/g, 52.7% FG), 6’5” junior guard Chaundee Brown (12.1 ppg, 6.5 rebs/g, 45.6% FG, 32.2% 3FG) and 6’8” sophomore forward Isaiah Mucius (7.3 ppg, 4.7 rebs/g, 42.6% FG, 34.6% 3FG).

Story by Chris Graham

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