Head Coach Louis Rowe, who was announced as James Madison men’s basketball’s 10th head coach on Thursday afternoon, has assembled his coaching staff for the 2016-17 season, as announced on Tuesday.
Rowe will add Byron Taylor and David Kontaxis as assistant coaches, while Mike Deane will also return as an assistant coach after acting in that capacity for the previous four seasons. Larry Davis will also join the staff as the Director of Basketball Operations.
“I am very excited to welcome these four talented men to James Madison,” Rowe said. “Like me, they have dedication and passion for the game of basketball and coaching these student-athletes. I have no doubt that they will make JMU proud and I’m looking forward to the community getting to know them.”
Deane remains on staff after serving the Dukes as an assistant coach for the past four seasons. The Stony Point, N.Y. native has helped guide JMU to 72 wins since arriving on campus for the 2012-13 season.
Possessor of the most career victories as a head coach among all active assistant coaches nationwide, Deane helped a program that annually ranked among the bottom of the CAA in defensive scoring to new program records in field-goal percentage and three-point field-goal percentage in 2015-16. That defensive mindset also carried the Dukes into their first NCAA appearance in 19 years and their first NCAA win in 30 years with a First Four win over LIU Brooklyn.
A March 18 inductee into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame, Deane came to JMU with an extensive resume in 36 seasons of coaching, including 30 years as a head coach and 24 with four different schools at the Division I level. He owns a 506-365 career record in collegiate coaching. Among coaches still active in college basketball, Deane ranks in the top 30 for career victories at four-year institutions with a mark of 437-332.
Taylor comes to Harrisonburg after seven seasons at North Florida, including five as an assistant coach. At UNF, Taylor helped Head Coach Matthew Driscoll build the Ospreys into an annual power in the Atlantic Sun Conference. North Florida took home the regular season crown in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, winning 45 games combined across the two campaigns.
In 2014-15, UNF won its first-ever A-Sun Tournament title, advancing to the program’s first NCAA Tournament since it made the jump to Division I for the 2005-06 season. In the last two years, Taylor also proved crucial to the development of guards Dallas Moore, the 2015-16 A-Sun Player of the Year, and Beau Beech, a two-time First Team All-A-Sun selection. He also coordinated travel and academics for the Ospreys, in addition to assisting with camps and community service opportunities.
Taylor was a three-year letterwinner at Florida A&M, playing in 84 games across his career with the Rattlers and earning spots on the 2007-08 and 2008-09 MEAC All-Academic Teams. He earned his master’s degree in educational leadership with a concentration in athletic administration from UNF in the spring of 2014 and is married to the former Dr. Deidra Jones.
Kontaxis comes to JMU after spending the past seven years involved in Amateur Athletic Union organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region. He worked in the Washington, D.C. area with DC Assault before more recently working with Team Loaded in the Virginia/North Carolina area. Kontaxis worked primarily with the U17-U15 teams as the lead recruiter.
Prior to entering the AAU realm, Kontaxis acted as the Director of Basketball Operations at William & Mary for the 2008-09 season. He got his start in coaching at the prep level, serving for seven years at Central High School in Capital Heights, Maryland. From 2001-2006, Kontaxis was the assistant coach before earning a promotion to head coach for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons.
Davis will join the Dukes as the Director of Basketball Operations after spending this past season at Newberry College, where he served as an assistant coach. He helped guide the Wolves to an 18-12 record and an appearance in the South Atlantic Conference semifinals as the No. 5 seed. Davis began his coaching career at the prep level, leading Lewisville HS in Lewisville, S.C. to the Class A State Championship in just two seasons at the helm and guiding Northwestern HS in Rock Hilll, S.C. to the best record in school history.
A South Carolina legend coming out of high school at Denmark-Olar HS, Davis played two seasons at the University of North Carolina under Dean Smith and was a member of the 1993 National Championship team. He then transferred back home to South Carolina, where he led the Gamecocks to their first SEC Championship of any kind in 1997 and a No. 4 national ranking. Davis was named All-SEC in both the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons and was named an All-American in 1997.
Photo Courtesy JMU Athletics