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Originally published: 2014-04-04 12:50:58
Last modified: 2014-04-04 12:51:44

Wake Forest hires Manning to be men's basketball coach

by Staff Reports

WINSTON-SALEM -- Danny Manning, one of the most accomplished college basketball players in the history of the sport, has been named the head men's basketball coach at Wake Forest. 

Athletics Director Ron Wellman made the announcement today.

Manning comes to Wake Forest after spending two seasons as the head coach at the University of Tulsa. He was named the 2013-14 Conference USA Coach of the Year after leading the Golden Hurricane to the conference championship and a berth in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Tulsa's first appearance since 2003. 

Manning is currently a finalist for two national Coach of the Year awards including the Jim Phelan Award, to the nation's top coach, and the Ben Jobe Award, given to the nation's top minority coach.

"We are very pleased to welcome Danny Manning to Wake Forest," Wellman said.  "There have been very few players who have had as much success on the court as Danny.  He has played for and worked under a number of legendary coaches and he has been successful in his coaching career. We fully expect that Danny's coaching career will reflect the excellence of his playing career."

"A legendary player, Danny Manning has always been a great student of the game of basketball," Wake Forest University President Dr. Nathan Hatch said. "Today, he is a great teacher of the game. I look forward to watching him mentor our players and build a championship basketball program at Wake Forest."

"I am excited about the opportunity to be a part of the history and tradition of Wake Forest," Manning said. "I am extremely humbled by this honor and look forward to being the head coach and competing for championships both on and off the court."

An introductory news conference will be held next week in Winston-Salem.

Prior to taking the reins at Tulsa, Manning spent nine seasons on Bill Self's staff at the University of Kansas, Manning's alma mater. He spent the final five years as an assistant coach after serving as the Jayhawks' Director of Student-Athlete Development.

Manning's list of accomplishments is nothing short of remarkable. He was an All-American and national player of the year for Kansas, leading the Jayhawks to the 1988 national title where he was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player.

Manning was drafted No. 1 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1988 and went on to enjoy a 15-year NBA career with seven different teams. Manning was a two-time NBA All-Star (1993, 1994) and was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year in 1998. Manning also won a bronze medal with the U.S. at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Manning retired from professional basketball in 2003 and then began his coaching career as a member of Self's first staff at Kansas. Manning was elevated to assistant coach in March 2007 and helped the Jayhawks win the 2008 national title in his first season in his new position. He also helped Kansas advance to the 2012 national title game in his final season in Lawrence.

"Danny Manning is one of the most accomplished, humble people you'll ever meet," Self said. "He's done more in his life through the athletic world than just about anybody, but you would never know it in visiting with him as he never ever talks about himself. His focus on deciding to be a basketball coach was to try to share some of his knowledge and make others better.

"I mean, who wouldn't want their son to be mentored by a guy who has everything you want your son to be? Think about it: he graduated, won a national championship, and was the No. 1 pick in the draft, an Olympian, two-time NBA all-star, family man, has his priorities straight. Who wouldn't want their son mentored by a guy like that on a daily basis?"

Manning was hired as the head coach at Tulsa on March 29, 2012. In two seasons at Tulsa, Manning went 38-29 (.567) overall and 21-11 (.656) in Conference USA.

The Golden Hurricane went 21-13 overall and 13-3 in C-USA in 2013-14, earning a share of the 2013-14 regular season title, its first since winning the WAC in 2002. Tulsa won 14 of its final 17 games of the year to finish in a tie atop C-USA.

The Golden Hurricane then went on to capture the C-USA tournament title with a 69-60 win over Louisiana Tech, securing its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003. Tulsa earned a No. 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament and fell 76-59 to No. 4 seed UCLA in the second round.

Manning was named the 2013-14 Conference USA Coach of the Year, becoming the first Tulsa coach to accomplish the feat since Bill Self in 2000.

In his first season at the helm of Tulsa, Manning led the Golden Hurricane to a 17-16 overall record and an 8-8 mark in Conference USA play, finishing fifth in the regular season standings. Tulsa advanced to the semifinals of the Conference USA Championship and played in the CBI postseason tournament.

During his time on staff at Kansas, Manning was a part of one NCAA national championship, two Final Fours, five NCAA Elite Eight appearances, eight Big 12 regular season conference titles, five Big 12 tournament championships and 269 career victories. During his five-year tenure as an assistant coach, Kansas went 164-24 (.872) overall.

Standing 6-foot-10 and being one of the top big men to ever play college basketball, Manning naturally helped mentor the Jayhawks' post players, earning a reputation as one of the best coaches of big men in the country.

He coached 14 NBA draft picks, including nine first-round selections and nine current NBA players. Among those NBA draft picks during his tenure include big men Wayne Simien, Julian Wright, Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun, Cole Aldrich, twins Marcus and Markieff Morris, Jeff Withey and Thomas Robinson. Manning recruited two McDonald's High School All-Americans, including 2010 NBA first-round draft pick Xavier Henry. He also coached two Academic All-Americans in Cole Aldrich and Tyrel Reed.

From 2003-07, Manning served as the Director of Student-Athlete Development/Team Manager at Kansas. In his role, Manning was the team travel coordinator, oversaw equipment ordering and distribution and organized and assisted in the youth holiday clinic and summer camp program.

A Jayhawk legend, Manning is Kansas' all-time leading scorer and rebounder, finishing his four-year career with 2,951 points and 1,187 rebounds. The 10th all-time leading scorer in NCAA history, Manning was named a consensus first-team All-America selection in 1987 and 1988, the consensus College Player of the Year in 1988 and a three-time Big Eight Conference Player of the Year (1986, 1987, 1988).

Manning was named the 1988 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player en route to leading the Jayhawks--dubbed "Danny and the Miracles"--to an 83-79 victory over Oklahoma for the 1988 national championship. He was also named the MVP of the NCAA Midwest Regional in 1986 and 1988. Manning's sophomore year in 1986 Kansas finished 35-4 and advanced to the Final Four in Dallas.

"He has a tough side, but he has this quality to calm kids down and make them listen and make them want to play for him," said SMU coach Larry Brown who coached Manning at Kansas. "That's a special gift. Plus, he's bright. He's the whole deal for me."

"He asked me if I thought he was ready to be a (head) coach," Brown added.  "He was ready the first day I met him, when he was five years old."

"I'm blessed to have even met him," said Markieff Morris of the Phoenix Suns who played for Manning at Kansas in an interview with ESPN. "He's the best big-man coach in the country. Any time that whistle blows and you look over to that sideline, he's telling you what to do."

Recognized for all of his accomplishments on the court, Manning was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Nov 23, 2008.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers, Manning played 15 seasons in the league for seven different professional teams--the L.A. Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons. He averaged 14.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game during his NBA career, spanning 883 total games.

Manning was a two-time NBA All-Star (1993, 1994), and won the league's Sixth Man of the Year Award for Phoenix in 1998. During his playing days, Manning was a representative for the NBA Players Association.

Manning won a bronze medal as a member of the 1988 USA Olympic Team in Seoul, South Korea. He also won a silver medal for the U.S. at the 1987 Pan American games in Indianapolis.

Originally from Greensboro, Manning was named to the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. He played at Greensboro Page High School before transferring to Lawrence (Kan.) High School prior to his senior year. He is also a member of the Lawrence High School Hall of Fame.

Born May 17, 1966, Manning earned his degree in communication from the University of Kansas in 1991.

Danny and his wife, Julie, have two children -- daughter Taylor, a student at KU, and son Evan, a walk-on with the Kansas basketball team.