Jim Forbes – photo by Leonel Monroy | EPISD
Jim Forbes, one of three Olympians in the history of the UTEP men’s basketball program, has passed away at the age of 69.
Forbes was a member of the 1972 United States squad that suffered a controversial 51-50 loss to the Soviet Union in the Gold Medal game at Munich, Germany.
A Bel Air High School graduate, he chose to play college basketball in his hometown of El Paso. He appeared in 61 games for the Miners from 1971-74, averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 rebounds while shooting 49.8 percent from the field and 75.8 percent from the line. He averaged 10.7 rebounds during the 1971-72 season, most by a sophomore in school history.
Forbes is tied for fifth place in school history with 20 double-double (points-rebounds) games, and his career rebounding average rates sixth in the Miner record book. He was a two-time second team All-Western Athletic Conference pick in 1972 and 1973. He was tabbed to the NABC All-District Team in 1972 (second team), 1973 (third team) and 1974 (third team) from 1972-74.
He was selected by Chicago in the fourth round of the 1974 NBA Draft, but did not play professionally after suffering a knee injury. Forbes was an assistant coach under the legendary Don Haskins at UTEP for three seasons from 1981-84.
He later embarked on a distinguished high school coaching career in the Sun City. Forbes led the Riverside Rangers to the Texas 5A Final Four in 1995 and the Andress Eagles to the Texas 5A Sweet 16 in 2009. He compiled over 600 wins in a high school coaching career that lasted nearly four decades.
Forbes was inducted into the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.