Forbes replaces Danny Manning, who was fired on Saturday after six seasons at the helm. Wake Forest never finished above .500 in the ACC under Manning, who had a 14-42 conference record over the past three seasons. Last season, the Deacons went 13-18 overall and 6-14 in the ACC, finishing in a tie for last place in the conference.
"I'm extremely excited for the opportunity," Forbes said in a statement. "Coming to Wake Forest presents an opportunity to be a part of a special brand and a chance to impact our student-athletes' lives in a positive way while competing for championships."
Forbes has been one of the most successful mid-major coaches in the country the past several years. He has won 130 games in five seasons at East Tennessee State and two Southern Conference regular-season titles. The Bucs went to the NCAA tournament in 2017 and would have gone this season after winning 30 games and the SoCon tournament.
"Coach Forbes has an incredible track record of success, matched only by his reputation for building strong and lasting relationships," Wake Forest director of athletics John Currie said in the statement. "He operates with a high level of intensity and is not only an effective coach on the floor, but a great recruiter as well."
Forbes also has power-conference experience as an assistant coach at Texas A&M, Tennessee and Wichita State.
Forbes was an assistant coach under Bruce Pearl at Tennessee during Currie's time in Knoxville.