Kenny Herbst (’97) was a three-year member of the Wake Forest men’s basketball team, including the 1995 and 1996 ACC Championship squads and three NCAA Tournament teams. After joining the program as a walk-on in 1994-95, he appeared in 18 games over his career, scoring eight points on 4-of-8 shooting and grabbing three rebounds. The Demon Deacons were 76-19 overall and 35-13 in the ACC during his three seasons on the team.
When did you graduate from Wake Forest?
What was your major?
What does being a Demon Deacon mean to you?
Being a Wake Forest graduate and professor are very meaningful parts of my identity. I began spending time at Wake Forest when I was five years old. My affinity for Wake Forest developed early, and the attachment has grown to be very strong over my lifetime. As a professor here in the School of Business at Wake Forest, I have a special opportunity to mentor students, to learn from them, and, of course, to teach them.
Why are you still involved in Wake Forest Athletics?
Wake Forest athletics are extremely important to me. I am honored to be closely involved by meeting with potential student-athletes and their families while they are on campus for visits. We offer our students such a unique and special college experience, and I want to be able to share my thoughts from the perspective of both a former student-athlete and a current professor here at Wake Forest.
Why do you feel it is important to give back to the University?
We are a smaller university (certainly relative to other Power 5 schools), and therefore, the number of graduates that we have is small relative to our competitors. As Deacs, I think it is important to give back any way that we are comfortably able. There are many different ways to give back, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my involvement in meeting with potential student-athletes and their families.
What is your current occupation?
I am an Associate Professor of Marketing and Sisel Faculty Fellow in the School of Business at Wake Forest University.
What is your favorite memory of your time at Wake Forest?
You mean other than marrying my wife, Caroline, in Wait Chapel? Ha! Being a part of the back-to-back ACC Championship teams in 1995 and 1996 is undoubtedly a favorite memory. All six of the victories needed to capture both ACC Championships are so memorable.
What makes you most proud of Wake Forest?
My relationships with our students, the people who have made this university so special for decades, the teams that we field, the opportunities and experiences that Wake Forest faculty enjoy, the campus…I could go on for quite some time. We field teams that compete at the highest level on ESPN one night, and then have a stimulating class discussion the next morning in which our students think critically and express ideas about ways to innovate and to manage business challenges. We are such a strong academic institution, and we win in an extremely competitive conference.
When you come back to Wake Forest, you always…
Well, I never have to leave, and I am grateful for that. Before I came back to Wake Forest as a faculty member, I would attend games and I would try to attend a basketball practice. Coach Prosser was so warm and welcoming when I expressed an interest in attending a practice while I was in town. Being back on campus was special, and frankly, it was always difficult to leave.
I was there when…
We won back-to-back ACC titles over the University of North Carolina and Georgia Tech in 1995 and 1996, respectively. Those two teams included, among others, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace, Jeff McInnis, Stephon Marbury and Matt Harpring. Randolph scoring 107 points in three games in the 1995 ACC Tournament was seemingly beyond human. Tim Duncan was exceptional, as usual, in both championship games. The opportunity to play with such a bright, modest, and caring guy who is, in my opinion, the best center to ever play the game, is something that I think about often.
Who is your favorite coach at Wake Forest, current or past?
I will always be grateful that Coach Odom offered me an opportunity to play basketball at Wake Forest. Coach Prosser was also one of my favorite coaches. When you talked with Coach Prosser, he made you feel as though you were an important part of the program. I have worked most closely with Coach Manning and Coach Clawson in the way of meeting potential student-athletes and their families when they are on campus, and I respect and admire both coaches. In addition, Coach Manning and Randolph have made basketball alumni feel like part of a Deacon basketball family. I have also had a rewarding opportunity to meet and to work with many of our fantastic current coaches through our Deacon Leader System.
(Please note: This article was originally published in the February 2018 issue of Gold Rush.)