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July 7, 2004

CHARLOTTESVILLE – University of Virginia head men’s basketball coach Pete Gillen has announced the hiring of John Fitzpatrick as assistant basketball coach and Mark Byington as Director of Men’s Basketball Operations. In addition, Gillen also announced that Alexis Sherard, who had been the Director of Men’s Basketball Operations in 2003-2004, has been promoted to assistant coach.

Fitzpatrick has 22 years of collegiate coaching experience and spent the last four years at the University of Houston, including the past two years as associate coach. He was elevated to associate coach after helping the Cougars reach postseason play in the 2001-2002 season. Prior to his four-year stint at Houston, Fitzpatrick spent two years at Ball State and has also coached at Wichita State, Fordham and Navy. While at Fordham, Fitzpatrick helped lead the Rams to a 1992 NCAA Tournament appearance, two NIT berths and back-to-back Patriot League regular season and postseason titles. He coached at Navy during the David Robinson era and helped guide the Midshipmen to three NCAA Tournaments and three Colonial Athletic Association regular season and postseason championships.

Fitzpatrick is a 1980 graduate of Bowling Green University with a B.S. degree in health and physical education with a minor in athletic coaching.

“John Fitzpatrick is a veteran coach with 22 years of experience at the college level,” Gillen said. “He has worked for some great coaches and is a real professional. I think he’ll be a big asset to us, helping us coach on the court and also in recruiting. He brings to us recruiting ties that will help expand our recruiting base. I am very excited to have him on our staff.”

Byington returns to Virginia after serving as an assistant coach at the College of Charleston under former Cavalier assistant coach Tom Herrion for two seasons. Byington earned his master’s degree in sports psychology from Virginia in May of 2001. He spent the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons as a graduate student manager for the Cavaliers. Upon earning his master’s, Byington spent the 2001-2002 season on the Hargrave Military Academy postgraduate basketball staff. He was Herrion’s first hire at the College of Charleston prior to the 2002-2003 season. In two seasons at the College of Charleston, Byington helped the team to a 45-17 record, including the 2002 Great Alaska Shootout championship. The Cougars also won a pair of Southern Conference South Division titles, and had an opening round win at Kent State in the 2003 National Invitation Tournament.

Byington earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from UNC-Wilmington in 1998. He was a three-year starter on the men’s basketball team at UNC-Wilmington, earning second-team all-Colonial Athletic Association and All-CAA Defensive Team honors his senior year. Byington averaged 14 points a game that season and helped lead the Seahawks to the first round of the NIT against Wake Forest. A two-time CAA All-Academic selection, he scored over 1,000 points during his career.

“Mark is a very bright and talented young man,” Gillen said. “I think he has a great future in coaching. He is going to help us in a lot of different ways. I am pleased to have Mark back with our program.”

In addition to the hiring of Fitzpatrick and Byington, Gillen also announced that Alexis Sherard, who had been Director of Men’s Basketball Operations, has been promoted to assistant coach. Sherard, who has been a member of the men’s basketball staff for five years, was also an assistant coach for the Cavaliers during the 2002-2003 season.

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