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Mark Byington Impresses At Roanoke Valley Sports Club

A long-awaited appearance by Mark Byington before the Roanoke Valley Sports Club lived up to all expectations at the Salem Civic Center earlier this week.

In his second season as the James Madison men's basketball coach, Byington directed the Dukes to a 13-7 finish, including an 8-2 record in the Colonial Athletic Association, after which he was named CAA coach of the year.

The original agreement was for Byington to speak to the sports club last year, but a COVID-19 breakout put that meeting on hold. In the end, it probably was better to have him speak in 2021, when he was a finalist for mid-major national coach of the year.

Byington spoke to a crowd Monday night that included two honorees designated as local "legends," Paul Bernard and Charlie Morgan. Bernard coached basketball at William Byrd High School and Charlie Morgan at Salem.

Many of Byington's former coaches and players were there, including Richard Morgan, one of the most decorated players to come through the valley. Morgan and his brother Charlie sat with the Byington family.

It was not the first time Byington had spoken to the sports club. As a young graduate assistant at UVa, he was dispatched to Salem by then-head coach Pete Gillen. When he got to the sports club, he learned that he would be sharing the podium with legendary Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer.

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Dave Fulton

Grounds

Nice to see Shawn Moore back on Grounds.
Friday, 23 April 2021 11:47
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Mark Byington To Speak At Roanoke Sports Club April 19

First-year James Madison men's basketball coach Mark Byington, who was scheduled to speak to the Roanoke Sports Club prior to the season, will take advantage of the recent loosening of COVID restrictions on social gatherings, and make his first appearance before the group April 19 at the Salem Civic Center.

The Dukes finished 13-7 this past season under Byington, who took over for Louis Rowe, who was not retained after JMU went 9-20 in 2019-2020 and posted a 43-85 record over four sub-.500 seasons.

Matt Lewis, a 6-5 senior from Bishop O'Connell, had a team-high 19.7 points per game this past season and was first on the team in assists, as well as second in rebounds per game and steals.

After a 3-4 start, JMU won 10 of its next 11 games. Byington, the state player of the year when he was a senior at Salem High School, previously had gone 131-97 as the head coach at Georgia Southern before accepting the job at JMU.

Recruiting

Gonzaga, which was on the brink of an NCAA championship after going undefeated in its first 29 games, received a late March commitment from the nation's top-rated point guard for 2021-22, 6-5 Hunter Sallis from Omaha, Nebraska.

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Doug Doughty

Doug Doughty

He's the dean of the UVA beat, and creator of College Notebook, which has entertained fans for 45 years. Meet Doug Doughty

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Ricky LaBlue

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Stephen Newman

The only things he loves more than following Virginia Tech and Washington sports teams are dogs. Meet Stephen Newman.

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