Wake Forest fires basketball head coach Danny Manning after 6 seasons

Wake Forest has parted ways with basketball coach Danny Manning after six seasons, the school announced Saturday.

Manning leaves with a 78-111 record. The Demon Deacons were 13-18 this past season.

“I am very thankful for having had the opportunity to lead the Wake Forest men’s basketball program,” Manning said in a statement. “I am very proud of the numerous student-athletes I had the pleasure of coaching, especially the student-athletes who earned their degrees. I am particularly thankful for all of the hard work my staff has put in through the years. I am so grateful to the Wake Forest community, who have made Winston-Salem a special home for my family and I from the second we stepped on campus in 2014. I wish the program nothing but success going forward.”

Randolph Childress will serve as the acting head coach.

The decision to fire Manning was made by John Currie, who became athletic director in March 2019, succeeding longtime AD Ron Wellman. Manning’s contract buyout is more than $15 million, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported.

“After a comprehensive review of the men’s basketball program, and with the support of President Hatch and University leadership, I have determined that it is time for a change in our head coaching position,’‘ Currie said in a statement. “We thank Coach Manning, Julie and Evan for their service to Wake Forest and for their commitment to our student-athletes and the Winston-Salem community over the past six years.”

Among the names of possible candidates being mentioned in media reports are UNC-Greensboro coach Wes Miller, UMBC coach Ryan Odom and Winthrop’s Pat Kelsey.

Manning’s dismissal comes a few days after 6-5 guard Chaundee Brown announced he was transferring from the program, either through the NBA Draft or as a transfer. Guards Sharone Wright Jr. and Michael Wynn earlier had entered the transfer portal.

The Deacons had a 30-80 ACC record the past six seasons under Manning and finished 13th in the league this season with a 6-14 ACC record. His teams had three 20-loss seasons and never posted a winning ACC record.

Wake Forest had one winning season under Manning, going 19-14 in 2016-17, finishing 9-9 in the ACC. Selected for the NCAA tournament’s “First Four” round that year, the Deacons lost to Kansas State.

Manning, 53, received a contract extension in November 2017. But the program was beset with a number of players who transferred in 2018, accelerating the downward spiral.

Manning starred for Kansas during the Jayhawks’ 1988 national championship run, then had a long NBA career before moving into college coaching. An assistant at Kansas, he was head coach at Tulsa for two seasons before being hired by Wake Forest in April 2014.