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Vanderbilt hiring James Madison head coach Mark Byington to replace Jerry Stackhouse

Vanderbilt split with Jerry Stackhouse earlier this month after five seasons with the program

Vanderbilt has found its replacement for Jerry Stackhouse.

The Commodores announced on Monday that they have hired James Madison’s Mark Byington as their next head coach. Specifics of his deal are not yet known.

“I’m thrilled and honored to be the head men’s basketball coach at Vanderbilt University. I know Commodore fans are eager for success and we will get there together,” Byington said in a statement. “I was blown away by the passion and enthusiasm of vice chancellor and athletic director Candice Storey Lee and chancellor Daniel Diermeier. We share the same vision that Vanderbilt basketball belongs as one of the nation’s elite programs. I look forward to meeting the fans, alumni, students and all of Commodore Nation. Our time is coming. Get ready!!!”

Byington spent the last four seasons at James Madison, and he led the program to a program-record 32 wins this season while reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time in his career. The Dukes, who stunned then-No. 4 Michigan State in their season opener last fall, upset No. 5 Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday. That marked the program’s first NCAA tournament win since 1983. Duke, however, rolled over James Madison and grabbed a dominant 93-55 win on Sunday to reach the Sweet 16.

Byington went 82-36 in his four seasons with the Dukes. He got his head coaching start at Georgia Southern in 2013, and he went 131-97 in seven seasons there before landing in Harrisonburg.

Mark Byington led the Dukes to a 32-4 record this season and their first NCAA tournament win since 1983.
Mark Byington led the Dukes to a 32-4 record this season and their first NCAA tournament win since 1983. (Peter Casey/USA Today) (USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect / Reuters)

The 47-year-old will now replace Stackhouse in Nashville. The longtime NBA star was hired at Vanderbilt ahead of the 2019 season. It marked his first college head coaching job after working for years as an assistant in the NBA and the G League, which he started doing soon after his playing career finished in 2013. Stackhouse was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, and he spent 18 seasons in the league.

Stackhouse largely struggled in Nashville. He only had two winning seasons, including last year when they went 22-15, but he failed to reach the NCAA tournament once. The school fired him after they were knocked out of the SEC tournament earlier this month, which dropped them to just 9-23 on the year. The Commodores went just 4-14 in SEC play and finished 13th in the league standings. Stackhouse finished with a 70-92 overall record in five seasons.

Byington will now be tasked with reviving the Commodores program, which hasn’t seen the NCAA tournament since 2017. They haven’t won a NCAA tournament game since 2012, too, when Kevin Stallings was leading the program.

“I was struck by the shared passion that we have for what this basketball program can be and for all that is possible at this great institution,” Lee said in a statement, in part. “I was also impressed with Mark’s approach to building an elite culture and his desire to fully immerse himself in all corners of Commodore Nation. He has proven his ability to turn programs around at Georgia Southern and James Madison by working tirelessly and communicating a shared vision.

“I could not be more excited about the future of our men’s basketball program.”