June 18, 2014



Providence, R.I.-Rhode Island College has named Michael Byrnes as its new Head Men’s Basketball Coach. Byrnes takes over the Anchormen basketball program for Bob Walsh, who stepped down to take the head coaching reigns at Div. I University of Maine in May after nine seasons at the helm.


 "I'm very excited and proud to join the Rhode Island College family," Byrnes said. "I look forward to build on the strong foundation that President Nancy Carriuolo, Athletic Director Don Tencher and Coach Walsh have laid. I will challenge our student-athletes day in and day out to be champions on and off the floor."


Byrnes joins the RIC athletic department after spending four seasons as an Assistant Coach at Robert Morris University. Byrnes joined the staff at RMU with 16 years of coaching experience at the prep school level, including 14 seasons at the Winchendon School in Winchendon, Mass.




As an assistant at RMU in his four seasons, Byrnes helped the Colonials stretch their streak of consecutive winning seasons to nine as Robert Morris finished 18-14 (.563) in 2010-11 and tied a school record for victories with an overall mark of 26-11 (.703) in 2011-12. RMU appeared in the NEC Tournament championship game each season.


In 2012-13, Byrnes assisted in helping guide Robert Morris 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 (NIT).


Robert Morris posted an overall record of 22-14 (.611) in 2013-14, including a mark of 14-2 (.875) in the Northeast Conference. The Colonials 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, Robert Morris 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 401-131 (.755), claimed a pair of New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC) championships and sent over 100 players to Div. I institutions, including Louisville, Villanova, Providence, Robert Morris, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania.


“Michael has been involved in basketball at both the prep and collegiate level for over 20 years, and his success at the prep level speaks for itself,” Robert Morris Head Coach Andrew Toole said. “The players he’s produced, the contacts he’s made and the experience he’s gained in the prep school ranks made him a natural fit to join our staff at Robert Morris to help take our program to even greater heights.”


Byrnes has coached several players at the prep ranks that have gone on to careers in the National Basketball Association (NBA), including Francisco Garcia, who played collegiately at Louisville, spent eight seasons with the Sacramento Kings and 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.


Byrnes started his coaching career as an assistant coach at Div. III Ferrum College in Ferrum, Va., in 1991-92 before serving in the same capacity with Div. III Roanoke College in Salem, Va., in 1992-93.


From 1993 to 1995, Byrnes was both an assistant and head coach at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., before returning to the collegiate ranks to serve as a graduate assistant coach with the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass., in 1995-96.




A 1990 graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Science degree in sports management, Byrnes was a three-year letterwinner 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.