CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- College of Charleston head basketball coach Bobby Cremins is taking a medical leave of absence.
At a press conference on Friday evening, it was shared Cremins is battling health issues.
Effective immediately, assistant coach Mark Byington will take over the reigns of a team that has lost three straight and is 7-7 since December 1.
"The first thoughts going through mine and my team's mind is the well-being of Coach Cremins," Byington said on Friday. "...Coach needs to get better, and he will."
Byington said a lot of guys were shocked and caught off-guard by the announcement on Friday. He said he saw a difference in Cremins the past couple of weeks and urged him to take care of himself.
"I can never fill the shoes of Coach Cremins," Byington said.
But he said he will try, and the team will work hard towards finishing the season strong. He stressed that the coaching staff and players still have something to play for.
"This world needs coach Cremins around for the next 30 or 40 years," Byington said.
Prior to his arrival at CofC, Cremins coached at Georgia Tech, where he was the winningest coach in school history. Cremins led Appalachian State to one NCAA Tournament berth and Georgia Tech to nine. In his sixth season at CofC, Cremins has compiled a 125-68 (.648) record. His overall record for 31 years of coaching is 579-375 (.607). He currently ranks among the top 15 active coaches in the NCAA in career victories.
Cremins asked for the respect of privacy concerning his reason for medical leave. He did not attend the press conference, but he did release a written statement.
"I have decided to step aside to take a medical leave of absence. I have asked our Athletic Director, Joe Hull, to turn the team over to our Associate Head Coach Mark Byington. Mark is an outstanding young man and basketball coach. I have complete faith in him as do our players. Being able to come back and coach at the College of Charleston has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I hope everybody will continue to support our team and Mark."
Athletics director Joe Hull described Cremins as a "great gentleman." He asked everyone in attendance on Friday to respect the coach's privacy.
"While I cannot predict the future, I do not expect Bobby to be back this season," Hull said.
Hull said Cremins' decision came after an emotional phone call on Friday morning.