On Friday, Mark Byington resigned as Head Coach of the men’s basketball program in favor of James Madison University after seven years at Georgia Southern.
“We want to thank Mark for his seven years of service to Georgia Southern and certainly wish him the best of luck in the future. We fully expect to have a very deep and qualified candidate pool as we move forward,” Georgia Southern Athletic Director Jared Benko said in a press release.
The resignation comes after the GS season was cut short due to COVID-19 concerns. The team was headed to the Sun Belt quarterfinals in New Orleans after defeating rival Georgia State in Atlanta when they received the news from conference officials.
During Byington’s seven year tenure, Byington accumulated a 131-97 overall record and several 20+ win seasons. In 2015, GS made an appearance in the Sun Belt Championship game where they would fall to Georgia State. All athletes under Byington have graduated.
“Eagle Fans… I want to thank you for 7 great years,” Byington said in a Twitter post. “With really talented players, we built this program to one of the best in the Sun Belt, but I am more proud of our 100% graduation rate. I have made some of the best friends of my life & cherish all the great memories.”
Before GS, Byington held positions at many schools including University of Virginia, College of Charleston, Hargrave Military Academy and Virginia Tech.
In 2018, Byington signed a contract extension that would have kept him in Statesboro until 2022.
The University will now begin a nationwide search for the vacant position, and associate head coach Andrew Wilson will assume an interim role effective immediately.
“In terms of what attributes we’re looking for in our next head coach, we want someone with integrity, first and foremost,” Benko said. “They must also be adept at player development, have a history of strong academics and NCAA compliance and also be the right fit for the Georgia Southern culture. Furthermore, this coach must also be able to put together a strong coaching staff and be a strong recruiter. We will be focusing on these primary traits when selecting our next coach. This job is a premier position not only in the Sun Belt, but nationwide, and we are confident that we will find a great basketball coach for Georgia Southern University.”
Amanda Arnold, The George-Anne Managing Sports Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org