JMU Undergoes Major Transitions in Athletic Department, Faces Uncertainty as Key Departures Leave and New Leadership Takes Over

JMU Sports News: Mark Byington Departs for Vanderbilt

JMU is facing significant changes within its athletic department, including the departure of Mark Byington as head men’s basketball coach to join Vanderbilt. With a record of 82-36, Byington led the Dukes to the NCAA Tournament in 2023-24 and secured a victory over Wisconsin in the first round but were defeated by Duke in the second round.

JMU is set to receive a $500,000 buyout for Byington’s departure. The university must now find a replacement quickly with the transfer portal open and players securing spots on teams for the upcoming season. This decision becomes crucial as Jeff Bourne is about to retire, making it necessary for JMU to make the final hiring decision.

The Dukes face two important positions that need to be filled: an athletic director and a head men’s basketball coach. President Jonathan Alger announced his departure for this summer, adding to the changes already taking place at various levels within JMU’s athletic department. Additionally, JMU brought in a new head football coach, Bob Chesney, in late 2023 following Curt Cignetti’s departure for Indiana.

With key turnover happening at different levels within JMU’s athletic department, it will be interesting to see how these changes affect the university moving forward. It remains to be seen what kind of impact this will have on JMU’s sports programs and overall success as an institution.

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