Michael Byrnes Named Head Men's Basketball Coach
Rhode Island College has named Michael Byrnes as its new Head Men’s Basketball Coach. Byrnes joins the RIC athletic department after spending four seasons as an assistant coach at Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh. Previously, he had 16 years of coaching experience at the prep school level, including 14 seasons at the Winchendon School in Winchendon, Mass.
Byrnes takes over the Anchormen basketball program from Bob Walsh, who stepped down after nine seasons. In May, Walsh signed on as head coach at the University of Maine, a Division I institution.
As an assistant at RMU, Byrnes helped the Colonials stretch their streak of consecutive winning seasons to nine, finishing 18-14 (.563) in 2010-11 and tying a school record for victories with an overall mark of 26-11 (.703) in 2011-12. RMU appeared in the Northeast Conference (NEC) Tournament championship game each season.
In 2012-13, Byrnes assisted in helping guide RMU to an overall record of 24-11 (.686) and its 10th NEC regular-season championship thanks to a league ledger of 14-4 (.778). The Colonials earned an automatic bid to the National Invitation Tournament.
The Colonials posted an overall record of 22-14 (.611) in 2013-14, including a mark of 14-2 (.875) in the Northeast Conference. They secured their second straight NEC regular-season championship and 11th overall in 2014 but fell in the championship game of the 2014 NEC Tournament, 88-71, to Mount St. Mary's. Despite the loss, RMU appeared in the postseason for the sixth time in the last seven years with an automatic bid to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). Making its third appearance in the NIT in program history, RMU advanced to the second round for the second straight year thanks to an 89-78 victory at St. John's.
During his time as a head coach at the prep level, Byrnes compiled an overall record of 404-131 (.755), claimed a pair of New England Prep School Athletic Conference championships and sent over 100 players to Division I institutions, including Louisville, Villanova, Providence, Robert Morris, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania.
Byrnes has coached several players at the prep ranks who have gone on to careers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). These included Francisco Garcia, who played collegiately at Louisville, spent eight seasons with the Sacramento Kings and spent the last two with the Houston Rockets, and Bruno Sundov, a 7'3", 220-pound center from Croatia who was a second round pick of the Dallas Mavericks in the 1998 NBA Draft and played for five teams throughout his seven-year career.
Byrnes also coached former guard John Linehan in the prep ranks before sending him off to Providence College, where he became the NCAA all-time steals leader with 385 thefts from 1997-2002. Linehan was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in both 2001 and 2002. He was heavily involved in recruiting Karvel Anderson to Robert Morris, who was named the 2014 Northeast Conference Player of the Year.
A 1990 graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Science in sports managment, Byrnes was a three-year letter-winner for the Minutemen, appearing in 44 career games, including a pair of starts. He was honored with the Lorenzo Sutton Award in 1988-89, which is bestowed annually to the most improved player for the program.
A native of Canton, Mass., Byrnes and his wife, Brenilda, have two daughters, Elizabeth and Ashley.