Steve Forbes

Steve Forbes


Coach Steve Forbes makes three promises to student athletes who play for him. First, that they will graduate. Second, that they will improve as players and as people. And third, that they will win.

How do these three things happen? What does it take to transform as a player and as a person, and what does it take to win?

This transformation can be difficult yet exhilarating for the player and coach. His job as the ETSU men’s basketball coach is to win games. But, more importantly, it’s to improve his players’ quality of life and help them turn their dreams into reality. Forbes will explain the process of motivating players to do things they don’t want to do to achieve their goals in life.
STEVE FORBES became the 16th men’s basketball head coach at East Tennessee State University in 2015. He and his staff wasted little time reinvigorating the program, combining an energetic style of play with an engaging approach to the fan base. The result has been plenty of success on the court.

During the 2016–17 season, the Buccaneers earned a 10th trip to the NCAA Tournament with a victory over University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the finals of the Southern Conference Tournament. The victory marked a championship sweep for the Bucs, who also claimed a share of the regular season title after going 27–8 overall and 14–4 in conference play. The Bucs’ 27 wins matched the 2nd-highest total in school history and gave ETSU 51 victories overall in Forbes’ 2 seasons in Johnson City. For his efforts, Forbes was named the NABC District 22 Coach of the Year.

Prior to joining ETSU, Forbes served two seasons as an assistant coach at Wichita State, where he helped coach the Shockers to 2 of the most successful seasons in program history, including advancing to the Sweet 16 during the 2014–15 season.

Forbes’ Division I experience includes stints at Tennessee, Texas A&M, Illinois State, Louisiana Tech, and Idaho. He helped coach the Volunteers to an average of 26 wins per year, and advanced to 4 consecutive NCAA Tournaments—making 3 Sweet 16 appearances and advancing to the program's first-ever Elite 8 in 2010.

A native of Lone Tree, Iowa, Forbes graduated from Southern Arkansas University with a degree in secondary education in 1988. A former baseball student–athlete for the Muleriders, he spent one year at his alma mater as the sports information director before embarking on a coaching career. He and his wife Johnetta have three children—Elizabeth, Christopher, and Johnathon.