Originally published April 4, 2014 at 10:02a.m., updated April 5, 2014 at 12:22a.m.

Wake Forest hires coach Danny Manning from Tulsa

Tulsa coach Danny Manning, center, talks to players during a timeout against UCLA in a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Friday, March 21, 2014, in San Diego.

Tulsa coach Danny Manning, center, talks to players during a timeout against UCLA in a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Friday, March 21, 2014, in San Diego.


— Danny Manning grew up watching Wake Forest play games at the Greensboro Coliseum, memories that linger in his mind all these years later.

He never thought one day he’d coach the Demon Deacons.

Manning, the former Kansas University standout who spent the past two seasons coaching Tulsa, was hired Friday as Wake Forest’s basketball coach. He’ll be introduced at a news conference next week on campus in Winston-Salem, N.C., a short drive from where Manning grew up.

“I spent a lot of my formative childhood years in North Carolina,” Manning said Friday at AT&T; Stadium, site of the Final Four.

“I spent the majority of my life in Kansas,” Manning said, “but this was a chance to be a part of a university that I share the same values and history with.”

His hiring ends Wake Forest’s two-week search for a replacement for Jeff Bzdelik.

Manning, who was 38-29 with one NCAA Tournament berth at Tulsa, brings instant name recognition to a program that dropped to near the bottom of the expanded Atlantic Coast Conference.

“There have been very few players who have had as much success on the court as Danny,” Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman said. “He has played for and worked under a number of legendary coaches and he has been successful in his coaching career. We fully expect that Danny’s coaching career will reflect the excellence of his playing career.”

Manning attended Greensboro Page High School before his family moved to Lawrence for his senior year, and when it was time to choose a college, he picked KU over North Carolina, winning an NCAA title with the Jayhawks in 1988.

Manning joined coach Bill Self’s staff at KU in 2003. Responsible primarily for working with post players, Manning was promoted to assistant coach in 2006 and two years ago earned his first head coaching job at Tulsa.

Self said Manning is “one of the most accomplished, humble people you’ll ever meet.”

Manning’s son, Evan, is a sophomore walk-on at KU.

“At Tulsa, the program had enough success to put him and his staff in a position to get the opportunity to coach the Wake Forest basketball program,” Evan said Friday. “We as a family have always been proud of him and know he will be successful at Wake like he was at Tulsa.”

Manning, 47, took the Golden Hurricane to the CBI in his first year and followed that by guiding them to the Conference USA tournament title and their first NCAA tournament berth since 2003. They earned a No. 13 seed and lost to UCLA in their tournament opener.

Tulsa forward Rashad Smith said he found out about Manning’s move through teammates and media reports, though he said the coach texted him shortly thereafter. It is believed Tulsa tried to keep Manning by offering a compensation figure at or above the $1 million mark, which would have made him the highest-paid coach in program history.

Guard James Woodard said it was “kind of shocking. You know in the back of your mind, the run we had this year, there would be a lot of opportunities out there,” Woodard said. “I’m happy for him.”

Manning will inherit a team with eight players who are either juniors or redshirt juniors — including promising big man Devin Thomas and tempo-setting guard Codi Miller-McIntyre.

Manning called the Demon Deacons a “sleeping giant,” one that he believes will be able to contend with Tobacco Road rivals Duke and North Carolina in the near future.

“A few years back, they were ranked No. 1 in the country,” Manning said. “They’ve had great players. You’re about Chris Paul, Tim Duncan, just to name a few, because they’ve had quite a few.

“I’m looking forward to going there and being part of that great tradition.”

Dooley on list?: The Tulsa World listed possible successors for Manning. They include former KU assistant Joe Dooley, who has completed his first season at Florida Gulf Coast, plus former Kansas State players Steve Henson (Oklahoma) and Brad Underwood (Stephen F. Austin).

Manning vs. KU: KU and Wake Forest are both entered in the 2015 Maui Invitational meaning Manning could coach against his alma mater in his second campaign at Wake.

Oubre scores 22: KU signee Kelly Oubre scored 22 points off 8-of-14 shooting in Findlay Prep’s 64-56 loss to Oak Hill Academy in the semifinals of the high school national tournament on Friday in New York. Oubre, a 6-7 wing, had 19 points in the first half for Findlay Prep (31-5), which is located in Henderson, Nev.


Waylon Cook 6 years, 11 months ago

4-4 is a good day for Danny Manning!

4-4-88 and 4-4-2014!!!!!!!!


Will Dooley or Norm be next Tulsa head coach?

Tony Bandle 6 years, 11 months ago

Agreed..the lands and the lasses would favor staying in FL!!

Eric TheCapn 6 years, 11 months ago

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Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

Great News, hope he is able to be successful there. Moving up the coaching tree is a process and you have to make the right moves at the right programs. Tulsa has always be a great school to start at, not sure about Wake. It's D Man though if anyone can I think he has a shot.

Good Luck Mr. Manning

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 11 months ago

As Danny has previously seen, The Yellow Brick Road passes through central N. Carolina where Danny will once again follow it back to Oz in a few years.

Danny leaves behind a very good team at TU. Hopefully another Kansas or even SMU assistant will get the chance.

Robert Brown 6 years, 11 months ago

There is only a four year age difference between Manning and Bill Self. Unless Self decided to retire early, I can't see Manning replacing him.

I am not ready to annoint Manning, after two seasons at Tulsa, the next superstar college basketball coach. This is a good opportunity for him.

Sam Constance 6 years, 11 months ago

Great news! I think going to Wake Forest can only help his recruiting ability, even if it isn't UNC or Duke.

Robert Brown 6 years, 11 months ago

Tough job where Wake has typically been a mid-pack team with a few exceptions. Ask Mark Turgeon. Maryland should have a better chance to win than Wake.

What is interesting is that there will be a changing of the guard in the next five years were legendary coaches Boehiem, Williams and Coach K will retire and need to be replaced. That may be an opportunity for Danny Manning. History says these programs will take a step back when these coaches are replaced. Look at UNC after Dean Smith; Kentucky after Pitino; Indiana after Knight, even Oklahoma State after Eddie Sutton. It is hard to find the right coach which makes Self replacing Williams replacing Brown, all the while improving, all the more remarkable.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 11 months ago

Does this mean we are losing Evan???

It's been 30 years since the Mannings left Carolina and shunned the Tarheels...hopefully all is forgiven for his recruitment program's sake.

Neither RatFace or Uncle Roy will ever retire....... their cold, dead bodies will be wheeled out of their gyms after they expire at the age of 95 during a head-to-head matchup!! Danny, those jobs are dead ends!!

I NOMINATE Scot Pollard for the head coaching job at Tulsa!!! No experience..WHO CARES!!. He'll be worth his weight in gold just for the sound bytes alone!! :)

Scott MacWilliams 6 years, 11 months ago

Hear, hear!! I second the Pollard candidacy, but they might have to sweeten the deal with a restored 1969 Cadillac convertible like he used to drive at KU!!

Doesn't Leon Russell still live in/near Tulsa? He could be the new band director for the TU pep band!! Painted fingernails on the bench and "Masquerade" from the band! WOO HOO Hurricane!

Lance Cheney 6 years, 11 months ago

So Wake Forest administration AND Danny Manning have both publicly acknowledged him taking the position, but we're still going off of "reports" that he has accepted the position? At what point do you just write, "Danny Manning Hired by Wake Forest?"

Phil Leister 6 years, 11 months ago

I thought the same thing. It's on the landing page of Wake's website, for crying out loud.

Billy Gibbons 6 years, 11 months ago

Danny is no longer listed as HC on Tulsa's website, but Brett Ballard and Steve Woodberry are still listed as assistant coaches...any chance they're up for the job?

Adam McEwen 6 years, 11 months ago

I recall when I was waiting tables in college serving Danny and his family many times, this article hits it with referring to him as "humble". He is a very kind, gracious man of great character, just a class act and I hope he is successful in this difficult job he has chosen. Beat DUKE!!!!

Lee Henry 6 years, 11 months ago

My Son Doug Henry were very good friends at KU....and he was a class act....

Lee Henry 6 years, 11 months ago

Meant to say he was veryy good friends with Danny at KU....

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