Speaking of former Salem High basketball standouts, James Madison men’s basketball head coach Mark Byington has been named as a finalist for the 2020-21 Hugh Durham Award, presented annually to the top Division I mid-major coach in college basketball.
Byington, who is the Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year, also was named the NABC District 10 Coach of the Year this week less than a year after his hiring. Byington took a team that was picked to finish ninth in the CAA Preseason Poll and led it to the CAA Regular Season Championship, taking the Dukes from last place to first place in his first season.
Byington engineered a JMU offense that paced the CAA in scoring during the regular season at 78.5 points per game while racking up a +8.1 scoring margin, nearly four points ahead of the closest team. The Dukes also held opponents to a 41.4% field goal percentage on defense, the best mark in the league.
A 1994 graduate of Salem High, Mark was a teammate of Kevin Garst on the ’94 state championship team under coach Charlie Morgan. He went on to play at UNC-Wilmington before beginning his coaching career, eventually landing at James Madison.