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ETSU gives Forbes raise, extension

By Joe Avento • Feb 19, 2018 at 9:52 PM

JOHNSON CITY — East Tennessee State knows it has a hot commodity on its hands and the university has taken a big step toward keeping men’s basketball coach Steve Forbes around for as long as it can.

ETSU athletic director Scott Carter announced Monday that Forbes has signed a new contract that will run through the 2022-23 season. Forbes will make at least $650,000 a year under the new deal.

The new contract raises Forbes’ base salary to $400,000 and his yearly stipend to $50,000. He also keeps his annual retention bonus of $200,000 raised from private funds.

Forbes also retains incentives from his original contract, which includes bonuses for accomplishments such as a conference regular-season or tournament championship, NCAA appearances and wins over major programs.

The new contract increases Forbes’ buyout to $500,000 if he were to leave ETSU while the deal is in effect.

“It is a true pleasure to work with my friend, Steve Forbes,” Carter said. “His leadership and direction of ETSU men’s basketball is writing history in our tradition that will be remembered for decades. I look forward to many more outstanding memories with Coach Forbes, as this new contract solidifies a tremendous partnership between him and East Tennessee State University.”

Forbes is 74-25 in three seasons at ETSU. This year’s team is 23-5, won a school record-tying 16 games in a row and can clinch the Southern Conference regular-season championship this week by winning at least two of three home games.

That kind of success has led to talk of Forbes moving on to a bigger program. His name was already connected to the job at Mississippi shortly after Andy Kennedy was told he wouldn’t be retained in Oxford when the current season ended. Kennedy stepped down on Saturday.

“This is an extraordinary effort by Dr. (Brian) Noland and Scott Carter to provide me and my family with an incredible commitment to our future at ETSU,” Forbes said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be the head coach at ETSU. I look forward to continuing our program’s success both on and off the court in partnership with my staff and our fans who make this job so great.”

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