Mark Byington returns to Lowcountry as GSU head coach - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Mark Byington returns to Lowcountry as GSU head coach

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Mark Byington spent nine years at the College of Charleston as their interim head coach for 11 games before the Cougars hired Doug Wojcik. Now he's the head coach at Georgia Southern.

He returned to the sidelines in the Lowcountry this weekend for the first time since leaving CofC.

It wasn't the happy homecoming Byington anticipated, taking a 17-point loss to The Citadel, but that's all part of the experience, he says.

"There's been a lot of challenges. And I never run from challenges, I embrace them. I took over a program that needs to rebuild. We were picked last or second to last, but our players bought in," he said.

There was a bit of irony in his return, too. Across town on the day he stepped on to The Citadel's home court, the College of Charleston celebrated senior day for guys like Willis Hall and Nori Johnson.

"I recruited those guys. I definitely anticipated it. I knew early they'd be terrific players and have great careers. I'm very proud of them," Byington said.

The whole new crop of players in a new place means a new approach and plan from Byington. He says he doesn't hold any bitterness towards the College for not hiring him.

"You have to move on, keep working hard and eventually you get your break, your chance to do what you want to do," he said. "I've learned that everything happens for a reason."

And make no mistake, after nine years at the College of Charleston, that time has been woven into the fabric of what he's building at Georgia Southern. He even brought along assistant coach Andrew Wilson.

"He understands what I want done, my personality, and he makes things easier for me," Byington said.

He even still has weekly conversations with former coach Bobby Cremins.

"He tells me to be patient. He knows my biggest weakness. I want things to happen today, but he tells me to be patient," Byington said.

Byington is not following in Cremins' footsteps, starting his head coaching career in the SoCon, working for that same success down the road.

"That's the biggest thing – I want to establish culture. I want our guys to do things the right way," he said.

He's just the man to follow when chasing a dream.

  • Scott Eisberg

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