Wake Forest fires coach Danny Manning after losing stretch

Full Screen
1 / 2

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

FILE - In this April 4, 1988, file photo Kansas' Danny Manning, facing camera at center left, is mobbed by fans and teammates after he led his team to an 83-79 victory over Oklahoma in the championship game of the NCAA men's basketball Final Four in Kansas City, Mo. Manning orchestrated one of the biggest championship game upsets with his 31 points, 18 rebounds and five steals. (AP Photo/Susan Ragan, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. – Danny Manning never built a winner at Wake Forest. Now the school is looking for a new coach and direction.

Wake Forest fired Manning on Saturday after losing seasons in five of his six years with one NCAA Tournament appearance. The move came more than six weeks after the Demon Deacons lost to Pittsburgh in the opening game of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, ending the season shortly before the coronavirus pandemic led to a shutdown of college and professional sports.

The decision came after what athletic director John Currie called an "overall evaluation” of a program with two winning seasons in the past decade going back to the days of Jeff Bzdelik.

“As time goes by, we're able to resume things,” Currie said Saturday in a video teleconference. “We never stopped working on this particular program because it is so important to all of us, just like we haven't stopped with the day-to-day duties. ... But certainly the onset of the pandemic played a role in the timing of today's announcement.”

Manning, a former No. 1 overall NBA draft pick, went 78-111 in Winston-Salem with a 30-80 mark in ACC regular-season games. Those league struggles included a 6-49 mark in league road games and 1-6 in the ACC Tournament.

Currie said he and Manning notified the team earlier Saturday in a video teleconference. Associate head coach and program great Randolph Childress will lead the team in the interim.

Currie declined to discuss details of Manning's contract or financial obligations tied to the change. Manning received an extension after his lone NCAA Tournament trip in 2017, though the private school typically doesn't make terms public.

“Ultimately this is a basketball decision,” Currie said, adding later: “In this particular decision, if you look at the overall program and where we are right now, the economics support the decision.”