College of Charleston men's basketball Coach Bobby Cremins has announced his retirement. Cremins made the announcement during a press conference Monday at TD Arena.
At the end of January, Cremins took an indefinite medical leave of absence because of a non-life threatening medical condition. Associate head coach Mark Byington finished the season as the interim head coach.
Cremins spoke of that leave during the press conference, saying, "It was unfortunate, sometimes our bodies send us signals [...] the silver lining was that Coach Byington, my other coaches, the team, the administration, and the school had my back."
He continued, "Even though I have been granted the opportunity to return and coach again, I feel it is best to step aside. I look forward to helping the college any way I can."
The coach added he wanted "a smooth transition."
College of Charleston Athletic Director Joe Hull said he would chair a small group tasked with selecting the next head coach. He also confirmed interim coach Byington was already a finalist for the position.
The 64-year-old coach spent six seasons with the Cougars amassing the third-most coaching victories in school history with a 125-68 (.648) record and leading them to the quarterfinals of the Postseason NIT after capturing the Southern Conference regular-season title in 2011.
Prior to his announcement, Cremins ranked 14th among active NCAA Division I coaches in career victories (579) which currently stands as the 46th-most all-time in NCAA history ahead of former CofC legendary head coach John Kresse (53rd, 560), his mentor and former coach Frank McGuire (56th, 549) and Lou Carnesecca (61st, 526).
"Being able to come back to coaching here at The College has truly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life," said Cremins, who retired in 2000 after 19 years as the head coach at Georgia Tech from 1980-2000. "In 2006, after being out of coaching for six years and assuming that I would never coach again, I came here not knowing what to expect. It didn't take my wife, Carolyn, and I long to fall in love with The College, our incredibly city and the wonderful people who live here."
There is not a coach in the country who combined experience, development and caring as much as Cremins. He mentored 25 players who were drafted or went on to play in the NBA, coached in an NCAA Final Four and was twice named National Coach of the Year by the media and his peers.
"Our basketball success under both John Kresse and Bobby Cremins has helped to boost the exposure of The College and help it become the national institution that it is today," CofC President P. George Benson said. "Fortunately, Bobby will continue to be a part of The College – he'll still be on our team. Going forward, Bobby will help Joe Hull, our Institutional Advancement team, and me build relationships for the College and raise much needed funding for athletics and academics. He will continue to represent the College of Charleston."
Over the last six years, the Cougars have made three postseason tournament appearances including last year's memorable NIT run. CofC also made three Southern Conference championship game appearances, posted four 20-win seasons and produced the program's first NBA Draft pick since 1997 in current Los Angeles Lakers guard Andrew Goudelock.
"In six years, short of an NCAA bid, we have accomplished everything we wanted to," said Cremins, who significantly improved the program's graduation rate and academic progress during his tenure. "We've been to the (SoCon) finals three times and I look forward to the day when we win it all."
Off the court, Cremins has been the face of The College and active in the Charleston community speaking regularly to youth groups, clubs and other organizations. He also devoted a lot of his time to national organizations such as Coaches vs. Cancer and the Jimmy V Foundation.
"Working with Bobby these past several years has been one of the genuine privileges of my professional career," said CofC Director of Athletics Joe Hull, who says a national and thorough search will begin immediately to seek the best coach available.
Byington has been Cremins' top assistant for the last six years and has coached nine years overall at CofC as a member of former head coach Tom Herrion's coaching staff from 2002-04 and 2005-06.
Cremins has a 567-367 (.607) overall career record as a Division I head coach. He led Appalachian State to one NCAA Tournament berth and Georgia Tech to nine.
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