JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 17, 2018) – With ETSU men’s basketball’s season opener at Georgia State only 50 days away, looking back at the success of the program since Steve Forbes was named head coach in the spring of 2015 can only be described in one way: unprecedented.
On the surface, winning 76 games over the last three years combined, reaching the finals of the Southern Conference Tournament three straight seasons, and collecting the program’s 10th trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament in 2017 are impressive enough. However, comparing those numbers in a historical context, while also assessing those successes when compared to other programs reveals an even more extraordinary trend.
As the Buccaneers reach 50 days until the start of their 100th season of basketball in 2018-19, let’s take a closer look at the accomplishments of the program during the Forbes’ era.
- The Bucs total of 76 wins over the last three years ranks seventh among mid-major programs (excluding the Power 5 Conferences, the Big East Conference and American Athletic Conference) and 23rd in the nation among all teams. In addition, that three year stretch is the best any single head coach in ETSU’s program history.
- ETSU’s 11 true road wins last year ranked second only to three teams that won 12 a year ago. In addition, when going back over the last three years, the Bucs have 27 true road wins, which ranks 10th nationally.
- With a .724 winning percentage (76-29) since 2015, Forbes sits atop the all-time coaching list at ETSU. In fact, the closest former coach to Forbes would be Charles Reece, who coached the Bucs from 1918-22 and posted a .613 winning percentage in just 31 games during a different era for the sport. In the modern era – which we will define as beginning with legendary head coach Madison Brooks in 1948 – the next closest coach in winning percentage is Alan LeForce, who posted a .607 winning percentage from 1991-96.
- Posting an average of 25.3 wins per season, Forbes ranks second on the Southern Conference all-time list for wins per season. He trails only Everett Case, who averaged 26.7 wins a year at N.C. State from 1946 to 1953.
- Of coaches hired in the spring of 2015, Forbes ranks second behind only Nevada’s Eric Musselman (81-29) for number of wins and winning percentage. He ranks just ahead of Texas Tech’s Chris Beard (75-29), who was hired at Arkansas-Little Rock in 2015 before heading to Texas Tech in the spring of 2016.
- Having collected three straight seasons of 20-plus wins (24 in 2015-16, 27 in 2016-17, and 25 in 2017-18), it marks the fourth time in program history that the Bucs have accomplished that feat. Previous runs of 20-plus seasons went from 1950-51 to 1953-54, 1988-89 to 1991-1992, and 2008-09 to 2010-11.
- The Bucs posted the longest winning streak in the country last season, winning 16 straight games at one point during the 2017-18 season.
- In the state of Tennessee, only MTSU has more wins than the Bucs over the last three years with 81. Otherwise, ETSU’s 76 victories is better than programs such as Tennessee, Belmont, Chattanooga, and all the rest.
- Making title game appearances in the SoCon Tournament three years in a row marks only the second time in the program’s history the Bucs have accomplished that feat. ETSU reached the title game five years in a row from 1989 to 1993.
For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the preseason and to order season tickets, visit ETSUBucs.com.