Summer 2024

'Christian believer' Scott Forbes ready for 1st College World Series as UNC head coach

The North Carolina baseball program is a fairly regular participant in the Men’s College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, having reached the eight-team double-elimination tournament — the final stage of the NCAA Tournament — eight times in the past 19 seasons (and 12 times overall).

Yet for the first time ever, the man leading the Tar Heels (47-14) is head coach Scott Forbes, a longtime North Carolina assistant who took over after the retirement of Mike Fox in August 2020.

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Moments after the Tar Heels’ second straight narrow win a 2-1 victory against West Virginia in the Chapel Hill Super Regional on Saturday to punch their ticket to Omaha, Forbes was interviewed on the field by CBS 17 in Raleigh.

“It’s not them getting me to Omaha, it’s me hoping to get them. That’s been my prayer all year,” Forbes said as he reflected on his first trip to the College World Series as UNC’s head coach. “I changed the thought process of how I coached in 2022 and I made a decision that, if I’m a Christian believer, I’ve gotta coach through that avenue.”

Forbes, this season’s ACC Coach of the Year, has spoken about his faith in Christ before. He was featured in the Heart of a Coach Q&A in the Spring 2022 edition of Sports Spectrum Magazine, where he spoke about how his faith in Jesus affects his approach to his job.

“My faith in Christ impacts everything I do as a coach,” Forbes said in the magazine. “I try my best to make every decision through Him and coach so that others will hopefully see Him in me daily.”

He continued later, “Keeping perspective as to why I coach, I am challenged the most in making sure I remind myself daily that you win in many more ways than just the final score.”

Forbes knows that his players are watching as he seeks to live the life God has called him to live, both on the baseball diamond as well as when he’s out of the spotlight. He wants his players to know that they are cared for, by him and the coaching staff as well as by the Lord. If they are in Christ, they are never alone because the Holy Spirit lives inside them.

Forbes came to such a realization himself, and it became a turning point in his own development as a believer. It’s why Jesus’ message in the Bible passage John 14:15-18 is his favorite. It says, “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

As Forbes explained in the magazine, “This verse is so powerful to me because growing up no one really taught me who the Holy Spirit was and how that worked. To me, knowing I have the Holy Spirit living inside me as a compass and counselor gives me so much assurance that the Lord will guide me daily if I will just ask Him to.”

The College World Series gets started on Friday, with Forbes leading his No. 4-seeded Tar Heels against No. 12 Virginia at 2 p.m. ET.

Tennessee and Florida State square off on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET. N.C. State plays Kentucky and Florida plays Texas A&M on Saturday to round out the first set of games in Omaha.

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