CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- University of Charleston men's basketball coach Mark Downey has accepted the same position at the University of West Alabama, a public Division II school in Livingston, Ala.
"I just thought it was best for my family," Downey said. "It was a deal where [officials at UWA] knew what I'd done before, when they were in the same conference as Arkansas Tech.
"West Alabama came calling and we liked it. It's a small town, but is a public school. We just felt comfortable there."
Downey took over at UC when Greg White resigned after the 2009-10 season. His Golden Eagles went 15-13, 26-7 and, this past season, 19-9. His 2011-12 team finished second in the West Virginia Conference.
The coach, however, found most of his success at Arkansas Tech, which recently left the Gulf South Conference, where UWA remains.
Downey's most recent UC team defeated the nation's No. 1 Division II team, West Liberty, on Jan. 15. The Golden Eagles, though, went 7-7 the rest of the season. Then, at the end of April, three of Downey's best players - Terrell Lipkins, Robbie Dreher and Quincy Washington - were arrested for robbery and subsequently kicked off the team.
That led to scrutiny and what Downey called "a new list of values and guidelines to follow." On Friday, though, the coach said the incident had nothing to do with his decision.
"It didn't," he said. "Not at all. That was just an unfortunate incident."
Downey said part of the reason he moved to Charleston was to move close to his mother, who has since moved to Arizona. Downey's wife Ericka, however, has family in Arkansas and the move to Livingston "cuts the trip in half."