Title talk abounds

Shortly after accepting a job as an assistant coach with Bruce Pearl's University of Tennessee basketball team, Steve Forbes suggested the Vols are eager to begin pursuit of the game's ultimate prize.

"We've talked about working together before but the timing never worked out," Forbes told the Iowa City Press-Citizen. "Now it finally did, and I'm excited to be here and want to win a national championship."

Interestingly enough, Forbes was the Press-Citizen's Player of the Year as a senior at Lone Tree High School 23 years ago. After attending Southern Arkansas University, he returned to Iowa and spent four years at Southwestern Community College – the last two as head coach. It was during this time that he met Pearl, then assisting Dr. Tom Davis at the University of Iowa.

"I was really impressed with Coach Pearl's enthusiasm, his energy level," Forbes noted. "He has a contagious personality, and I was impressed by that."

Forbes' career began to take off in 1998, when he joined the Idaho staff as an assistant and was promoted to associate head coach within the year. After three years at Louisiana Tech, he helped Billy Gillespie turn around the fortunes at Texas A&M in 2004-05 and 2005-06. Assuming a program that had gone 7-21 the year before, Gillespie put together back-to-back 20-win seasons the past two years.

"The things that we did at A&M are unbelievable," Forbes said. "I feel very fortunate to work for Billy and now for Bruce, two of the hottest coaches in the country."

Although leaving a rising program like A&M was difficult, Forbes believes the Volunteer program he's joining is on the fast track to success under Pearl.

"He came to this town – a place where football and women's basketball are so big – and the men's basketball team was the No. 1 story in the state this year," Forbes noted. "The things he did were incredible, and I think he'll keep doing them. He's won at every place he's been, and he's won big."

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