Home Mark Byington, after record-setting season at JMU, leaves school for job at Vanderbilt

Mark Byington, after record-setting season at JMU, leaves school for job at Vanderbilt

Chris Graham
college basketball money NIL
(© zimmytws – stock.adobe.com)

Mark Byington, barely having had time to get off the plane after JMU’s second-round NCAA Tournament loss on Sunday night, has taken the job at Vanderbilt, according to multiple published reports.

Byington, who was 82-36 in four seasons at JMU, will replace Jerry Stackhouse, who was fired earlier this month after Vandy finished 9-23 in the 2023-2024 season.

The job is a step up from JMU, in that Vanderbilt is a member of the SEC, but it’s maybe the lowest-rung job among the Power 5.

Since Kevin Stallings left for Pitt in 2016, Vandy has had three winning seasons, one NCAA Tournament appearance, and a cumulative 110-151 record.

Bryce Drew, now at Grand Canyon, was 40-59 in three seasons, ahead of the hire of Stackhouse, the former UNC legend and 18-year NBA veteran, whose teams were 70-92 in his five seasons.

Byington led JMU to a school record 32 wins this season, including a season-opening win at Michigan State, and a dominant first-round NCAA Tournament win over a #5 seed, Wisconsin.

The issue at JMU, as we saw back in the fall, when the school lost its successful football coach, Curt Cignetti, to Indiana, a Big 10 school, is finances.

Byington, who has a 220-137 overall record in 11 seasons as a D1 head coach, was making $600,000 a year at JMU; Vanderbilt was paying Stackhouse, who was a first-tine head coach when he got the job in 2019, $3.1 million a year.

You’d expect Byington, who has a lengthy resume as a head coach – four years at JMU, seven years at Georgia Southern – to at least be in the same range.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].