Predicting West Virginia’s Basketball Team Next Season

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that interim head coach Josh Eilert will not be made the permanent head coach following this season. Instead, Wren Baker will do a nationwide search for West Virginia’s next head coach.

In fact, the search has already started, and according to a source familiar with the situation, the decision has already been made.

Mark Byington, the head coach of James Madison Dukes, is the clear odds-on favorite to lead West Virginia next season.

Byington, 47, has a 205-135 (.604 winning percentage) during his 12 seasons as a head coach at the College of Charleston (2011-2012), Georgia Southern (2013-2020) and James Madison (2020-current). This season, the Dukes are 28-3 overall and 15-3 in the Sun Belt Conference, and had an impressive win on the road at then #4 ranked Michigan State on the first game of the season for both teams.

Byington, a Salem, Virginia native, was named the CAA Coach of the Year in 2021 and is considered bright, young, talented head coach and Wren Baker has reportedly zeroed in on him as the team’s next coach.

Chas Wolfe of revealed that CSA (College Sports Associates) Consulting works with both Byington and West Virginia’s Wren Baker. The rumor circulating is that Byington and West Virginia Unversity have a “handshake deal” and that he is in fact the choice following the season. According to a source close to the situation, “a sitting division one head coach told a prominent Virginia AAU head coach that Byington had the handshake deal.”
With this all said, it appears that Byington is certainly the choice unless the deal falls apart for some reason before he is hired. If Byington is hired, it’s very likely that he will bring along current VMI head coach Andrew Wilson as his top assistant. Wilson was an assistant under Byington at James Madison from 2020-2022 before leaving to take over the VMI program. At VMI, Wilson is 11-52, but he’s considered an outstanding recruiter.
Wilson recruited this year’s Sun Belt Player of the Year, Terrance Edwards, who was a four star recruit out of high school. This season, Edwards, a junior from Atlanta, Georgia, led James Madison, averaging 17.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. With Byington and Wilson likely coming to Morgantown, Edwards would almost certainly follow them and finish his career out with the Mountaineers.
If this all plays out as I believe it will, the Mountaineers will be in very good hands next season and in the future.