Saturday, April 25, 2020

Danny Manning dismissed by Wake Forest

FILE — Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning, second from left, talks to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball against Tennessee in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

FILE — Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning, second from left, talks to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball against Tennessee in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)


Danny Manning has been dismissed as the head basketball coach at Wake Forest after six seasons at the helm, the school announced Saturday.

Under the 53-year-old Kansas alumnus, Wake Forest finished the 2019-20 season at 13-18 overall and in a last-place tie in the ACC at 6-14. Manning’s teams won six or fewer conference games in five of his six seasons and finished in second-to-last place three times.

“After a comprehensive review of the men’s basketball program, I have determined that it is time for a change in our head coaching position,” Wake Forest Athletic Director John Currie said in a news release.

Manning, who signed a six-year contract extension with Wake Forest in 2017, is reportedly owed more than $15 million as outlined in the buyout clause in his contract.


Danny Manning, who was recently named head coach at Tulsa University, walks with the team after practice at the Superdome in New Orleans on Thursday, March 29, 2012.

“I am very thankful for having had the opportunity to lead the Wake Forest men’s basketball program,” Manning said in the release announcing his dismissal. “I am very proud of the numerous student-athletes I had the pleasure of coaching, especially the student-athletes who earned their degrees.”

In six seasons at Wake Forest, Manning led the program to an overall record of 78-111 and one trip to the NCAA Tournament. That came in 2017, when the Demon Deacons lost to Kansas State in a First Four matchup in Dayton, Ohio.

The Demon Deacons’ best ACC finish under Manning came when they went 9-9 and finished in ninth place during the 2016-17 season. After that run — his lone winning season at Wake Forest — Manning received the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award, and one of his players, forward John Collins, was selected in the NBA draft as the No. 19 overall pick by Atlanta.

Collins was one of three players currently in the NBA whom Manning coached at Wake Forest. Manning also coached six players who earned all-conference honors during his six seasons.

Manning, the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in Kansas basketball history, went to Wake Forest after a successful two-year stint at Tulsa. Prior to that, he was on KU coach Bill Self’s staff for nine seasons and helped the Jayhawks to the 2008 national championship, two Final Four appearances, five trips to the Elite Eight and eight Big 12 regular-season titles.

A handful of former Kansas players — Brett Ballard, Steve Woodberry and Rex Walters — and one former KU manager, Justin Bauman, also worked on Manning’s staff at Wake Forest.

“Appreciate Danny for giving me an opportunity!” Walters tweeted on Saturday morning shortly after the news broke. “Enjoyed working with the young men at Wake Forest and wish them all the best of luck!”


Suzi Marshall 2 years, 2 months ago

Sorry to hear Danny is out at WF. What are the chances of getting him back in Lawrence to help the KU program?

Dirk Medema 2 years, 2 months ago

Guessing Danny will take a little time to regroup with his family but would not be surprised at all to see him back in Lawrence. Besides it being a great community, Coach Self has a long history of finding places for former players and coaches. Danny has tons to offer, whether on the bench or in a supporting role similar to when he started.

Michael Maris 2 years, 2 months ago

Yes, I know it would mean someone has to leave. But, I would be elated to see Manning back on the Jayhawks bench. Manning would be a great asset from the bench (recruiting and mentoring the front court players again).

David Kelley-Wood 2 years, 2 months ago

Danny will likely always be my all-time favorite Jayhawk. Will be wishing him the best in whatever he chooses to do.

" reportedly owed more than $15 million as outlined in the buyout clause in his contract." Uh, this is not exactly the worst situation a guy could find himself in.

Jay Hawkinson 2 years, 2 months ago

He did well at Tulsa, so I suspect he will be in demand as a head coach at the mid major level. But I certainly wouldn't mind parting ways with Kurtis Townsend and replacing him with Danny. It is possible that Self will be hit with some sort of suspension, so the more head coaching experience and name recognition we have on the bench right now, the better.

Dane Pratt 2 years, 2 months ago

No one should be surprised. I hoped the athletic department’s anticipation of diminishing revenue coupled with Danny’s significant buyout might buy him another season.

Brian Wilson 2 years, 2 months ago

As far as I'm concerned...Danny can come coach KU Big Men anytime...RCJHKU!

Joe Ross 2 years, 2 months ago

Come back to Kansas Danny! Kansas needs both stability and some good news. You have a home here.

Armen Kurdian 2 years, 2 months ago

Seems like he's better at player development than top-level coaching...we all play to our strengths. But I'm sure he wants another chance at coaching at the D1 level.

Jason Roberts 2 years, 2 months ago

For Danny Manning to last six (6) years in a power conference with Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, etc. was a success in my books. If he comes back to Kansas you can be sure that he will be groomed to succeed HCBS, not to mention resume coaching our post players!

Jerry Walker 2 years, 2 months ago

Whut? His conference record was 30-80 and Wake was a perennial doormat.

Shannon Gustafson 2 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, that's the worst idea ever. A success at WF would be winning 70% or more of the games. He was at about half of that. He's great at many things, being the HC of a major program is not one of them.

Jason Roberts 2 years, 2 months ago

Also, I wonder if this will affect Rex Walters' status on the coaching staff.

Robert Brock 2 years, 2 months ago

Jumping from Tulsa to Wake Forest was a bit of a reach. You don’t coach in the ACC unless you are one heck of a recruiter (which Danny is not). He can still find a decent head coaching job in D1 - just not at so high a level. He is a good teacher; unfortunately, a lousy recruiter.

Jerry Walker 2 years, 2 months ago

What a soap opera at Wake.

Wake Forest AD Ron Wellman hires Manning. In his first 3yrs Wake was 43-53/16-38, Starting his 4th season with 3 straight losses to Georgia Southern, Liberty, and Drake...a week later Wellman extended Manning through 2025. In his 3yrs following his extension Manning produced a whopping 14 conference wins.

In 2019 Wellman retires and is replaced by John Currie (former AD at K-State and Tennessee). Currie lasted just 8mos. at Tennessee before being fired and having a possible hand in getting the Tennessee chancellor fired. After a year at the helm of Wake he fires Manning and Wake gets to eat Manning's $15M buyout.

Suzi Marshall 2 years, 2 months ago

It seems like Manning was a good fit for Wake. He is a teacher, develops playing abilities and character, graduates his student athletes. Like Kansas in football, it would be nearly impossible for WF to compete annually for the top of the ACC. Being competitive with a chance for the post season every so often should be good enough at WF as it is for KU football.

Bryce Landon 2 years, 2 months ago

Given the number of teams in the ACC (15) and the programs with all the tradition and power to them (North Carolina, Duke, Syracuse, Virginia, Florida State), it was going to be tough for Wake Forest to compete no matter who coached them. They were a force to be reckoned with back in the day when Tim Duncan was playing for them, and when Skip Prosser was prowling the sidelines, but Prosser's untimely death in 2007 was a blow from which WF still has not fully recovered. Manning did his best there, but he was simply in over his head at a place like Wake Forest.

He should come back to Kansas and coach the big men again. He was extraordinarily good at that, and it showed in our record during the time he was here on Self's staff.

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