Bying(ton) A New Coach

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Greetings from The Booth!

It’s a great time to be a fan of the JMU Dukes. On the heels of an 11-2 season, which included a spot in the Armed Forces Bowl, the Dukes’ basketball team, at the time of this post, is 29-3 and 2 wins away from a Sun Belt Tournament Championship, which would insure them a place in the NCAA “Big Dance.”

On the other hand, these are not good times for WVU fans like me. In recent years, about midway through the football season, fans long for the basketball season to begin. This season, it’s been a complete one-eighty. The Mountaineer football team posted a solid 9-4 campaign (boy, would we love to have that Houston game back!), earning Neal Brown at least another season at the helm.

Meanwhile, the WVU basketball team has been an unmitigated disaster. The Mounties finished the regular seasonĀ  at 9-21, and if optics are any indication, will be one and done in this week’s Big 12 Basketball Tournament. The season began unraveling before it even started, when former Head Coach Bob Huggins made inappropriate comments on various radio shows, and later was found drunk in his SUV on a Pittsburgh street, unaware of how he had gotten there. His resignation and subsequent transfers left WVU basketball in shambles. Assistant Josh Eilert was named interim HC, and although Eilert was dealt a bad hand, you can only ride that pony so far. He has been way over his head, and in recent games it appears hisĀ  players have quit on him.

With this lost season just about over, it’s safe to say that WVU Athletic Director Wren Baker already has some names in mind for the Head Coaching job, and one of them is surely JMU’s Mark Byington. He 47-year old Byington is at the top of a lot of the lists of Mountaineer fans and followers, and why not? After compiling a 131-97 record at Georgia Southern, the one-time Virginia Tech assistant has led the Dukes to a 79-35 mark, and has returned the Harrisonburg school to basketball relevancy.

Byington currently makes a mid six-figure salary at JMU, and with bonuses will probably make in the neighborhood of $650k this year. You can make a pretty good living in the Shenandoah Valley on that kind of income. But what coach wouldn’t want to try his hand with a brand name program in arguably the best college basketball conference in the country, the Big 12? Not to mention, make a seven-figure salary. In Mark Byington, WVU would get a bright young basketball mind who could turn the Mountaineers around quickly. And at just 47, he could be a long-term hire for West Virginia.

For Baker and Mountaineer fans, it’s time to “By” in and get this guy hired!

Until the next visit from The Booth…GO EERS!




Sports: Wednesday, February 21, 2024

VHSL Playoff Scores, WVU Prevails, Ovechkin Leads Caps To A 6-2 Win Against NJ

The “Great 8” lights the lamp twice as the Caps rout the Devils. Courtesy Capitals Radio Network…