JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 16, 2015) – ETSU head men’s basketball coach Steve Forbes is reuniting some familiar faces as he starts building his new Buccaneers’ coaching staff.
Forbes officially announced Thursday that two of his former coaching colleagues will be joining him on the bench at ETSU. Jason Shay and Brooks Savage both spent seven years alongside Forbes at Tennessee and Northwest Florida Community College.
“Over the seven years we have worked together, Jason, Brooks, and I have a combined record of 189-59, appearing in five NCAA Tournaments and two NJCAA National Championships together,” Forbes said. “These guys are flat out winners and the type of people I want to surround myself with.”
Shay, who most recently spent two seasons as an assistant coach at North Dakota, worked primarily with post players at UND and was an integral part of the program’s recruiting efforts.
“Jason and I have won a lot of big games the seven years we have worked together at Tennessee and Northwest Florida,” Forbes said. “He has one of the brightest minds in all of college basketball. Our players and our program will benefit greatly from his knowledge and experience. I have the utmost respect for Jason and I’m thrilled he has decided to join me at ETSU. His family and my family are very close and this tight knit chemistry will be very important for the future of our program.”
Meanwhile, Savage spent the last two seasons as an assistant at the Bucs’ Southern Conference rival Chattanooga. Forbes said Savage will be a perfect fit for the staff at ETSU.
“Like Jason, I have a seven-year relationship with Brooks that extends to our time at Tennessee and Northwest Florida,” Forbes said. “He is a rising star in this business. His experience in the SoCon the past two years at UTC has proved invaluable to me in the early stages of building our program here. Brooks has a tremendous work ethic and understands how important it is to build meaningful relationships with young people. I have complete faith in his abilities on and off the court.”
Shay said he’s excited to be back on the sideline with his good friend and coaching colleague.
“My family and I are extremely appreciative to be a part of Coach Forbes' staff and the ETSU family,” Shay said. “He's a terrific coach and an even better person. I've learned a tremendous amount working closely with Steve for seven years. He has helped me define and shape my coaching foundation. I look forward to helping him and the staff continues to build on the tradition and success of ETSU basketball.”
Savage said he was also pleased to be back with a group of coaches who have had so much success together.
"I couldn't be more excited to be back with Coach Forbes and to be a part of the ETSU family,” Savage said. “It’s an institution and a program of rich tradition and a passionate fan base that I have always admired. Coach Forbes has had a significant influence on my life both on and off the court. He is a terrific coach and person who I have learned a great deal from. I'm looking forward to working with our student-athletes and to be back on the same bench with Coach Forbes and Coach Shay."
For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the offseason, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.
For more on Shay and Savage, please see their full bios below.
Jason Shay joins the ETSU men’s basketball program after having most recently spent the last two seasons at an assistant coach for the North Dakota men’s basketball program. On the court, Shay worked primarily with the program’s post players and was a recruiter at both the high school and junior college levels.
With UND’s berth in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament in 2013-14, Shay had a streak of helping lead teams to nine consecutive postseason berths at the Division I level.
Prior to joining the UND staff, he spent the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons as an assistant coach at Northwest Florida State College, helping lead the Raiders to a 62-6 overall mark and back-to-back Panhandle Conference Championships and appearances in the NJCAA Division I National Championship game.
His two seasons at the junior college in Niceville, Fla., followed a six-year stint as an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee. During his tenure in Knoxville, the Volunteers advanced to six consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including the program’s first Elite Eight in 2010.
The Volunteers also won the outright Southeastern Conference Championship in 2008 and UT averaged more than 25 wins per season during his time on the staff.
Shay’s first Division I assistant coaching gig came at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he was first the director of basketball operations for two seasons (2001-03) before being elevated to a full-time assistant prior to the 2003-04 season. The Panthers advanced to the NCAA Tournament in both of his seasons as an assistant coach before the staff moved on to Tennessee for the 2005-06 season.
After graduating with a master’s degree from Western Illinois in 1998, Shay spent two seasons as an assistant coach and sports information director at Mercyhurst (Pa.) College. He was a walk-on for the Hawkeyes and Dr. Tom Davis for four seasons and earned his bachelor’s degree from Iowa in health promotion in 1995.
Shay and his wife, Jana, have a daughter, Peija; and a son, Joah.
Brooks Savage joins the ETSU men’s basketball program after having spent the last two seasons on the staff at Chattanooga. He joined the Mocs after spending a season at Presbyterian where he was an assistant coach for the Blue Hose.
Savage has experience in many areas from in-game coaching to video preparation/scouting to recruiting to player development. He also knows this region well as a former student and graduate assistant at Tennessee.
Savage has two years of coaching experience as well as another three on the DI level in more of a support role. Prior to serving as an assistant at PC, he spent the 2011-12 campaign on the bench at Northwest Florida State College, a two-year school in Niceville. He aided the program to an NJCAA national runner-up finish with a 32-2 mark with a squad that included 11 future DI signees.
Before getting his on-the-floor opportunities, Savage worked with the staffs at Tulane (2010-11) and Tennessee (2009-10) for three seasons. He was the Coordinator of Video/Player Development with the Green Wave and graduate assistant with his alma mater to start his post-graduate career.
The Vols won 49 games and made an Elite Eight appearance in 2010 in his two years as a grad assistant. He was a student assistant at Tennessee in his undergraduate years. He earned both his bachelor’s (2008) and master’s (2010) degrees in Sports Management in Knoxville. He was a part of five straight NCAA Tournament appearances with three Sweet 16s to go with the Elite Eight run.
Savage helped create the “OUTLIVE – Tennessee Fights to Beat Cancer” fundraising initiative. Inspired by Chris Lofton’s courageous and successful battle with cancer during the 2008 season, OUTLIVE raised money for cancer screenings and early diagnosis on behalf of the UT Medical Center and the UT Cancer Institute. It accumulated nearly $500,000 in three years.
A native of Columbia, S.C., he played at Irmo High School for Hall of Fame coach Tim Whipple.