College of Charleston men’s basketball head coach Bobby Cremins has decided to take a medical leave of absence effective immediately. Associate Head Coach Mark Byington has been appointed as interim head coach.

“What a great gentleman Bobby Cremins is,” College of Charleston Director of Athletics Joe Hull said. “He consistently puts the needs of others above his own. In this instance, I hope everyone will respect Coach’s privacy as he needs to look after himself and get well. We will miss Bobby as he recovers.

“In the meantime, I am confident Coach Byington and our team will close out the season with a strong run. Our goal is to win the Southern Conference championship and that is where our primary focus will be.”

Cremins, who is in his sixth season, has compiled a 125-68 (.648) record with the Cougars and 579-375 (.607) overall record in 31 years as a Division I head coach and currently ranks among the top 15 active coaches in career victories.

“Our team’s thoughts are with Coach Cremins as he made this decision, which was the best for his health and happiness,” Byington said. “As everyone knows, there is not a nicer, more generous, or caring person in the world than Coach Cremins. The world needs people like Coach Cremins, so we need to let him get better.”

“We have faced adversity and injuries to our program over the past few weeks. This is a young team with a lot of high-character men, and we will continue to compete as hard as we can. I understand it is a difficult task taking over for Coach Cremins, but feel excited and prepared for this opportunity. I encourage our fans to continue to support this team and our players.”

Byington has been Cremins’ top assistant for the last six years and has coached nine years overall at College of Charleston as a member of former head coach Tom Herrion’s coaching staff from 2002-04 and 2005-06.

“I completely understand Bobby’s decision,” College of Charleston President George Benson said. “He must do what’s best for his health. Given how much Bobby loves coaching and how committed he is to his players, his coaching staff, and the College, I know this was a very difficult decision for him.”

Benson added, “We have complete confidence in Interim Head Coach Mark Byington and the rest of the coaching staff.”

The Cougars will next host South Division rival Wofford on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 3 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena.