CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mark Downey has resigned as the men's basketball coach at the University of Charleston.
The 41-year-old Morgantown native is leaving to become the men's basketball coach at the University of West Alabama.
Downey informed UC Athletic Director Bren Stevens of his decision Thursday night. The coach, who compiled a 60-29 record in three seasons with the Golden Eagles, handed in his resignation and informed players and staff Friday.
"We are surprised and disappointed by Mark Downey's resignation today as University of Charleston men's basketball coach," Scott Castleman, UC's communications director, said in a statement. "He is exceptional in his profession and we wish him well in his future endeavors.
"The search for a new coach begins immediately as we strive to be a basketball power in the new Mountain East Conference."
West Alabama announced Downey's hire Friday afternoon.
"My family and I are so excited about this opportunity. We are looking forward to doing big things with the West Alabama men's basketball program," Downey said in a statement on the UWA athletics website. "When we visited the campus, we were so impressed by the enthusiasm and the hospitality. We felt the hunger to build a successful basketball program both on and off the floor.
UC had three consecutive winning seasons since Downey took over the program in April 2010. After a 15-13 inaugural season as coach, Downey led the Golden Eagles to a 26-7 record, an appearance in the national rankings and an NCAA tournament berth in 2011-12.
Last season UC finished 19-9 overall and 14-8 in the West Virginia Conference.
Charleston begins play in the Mountain East this season.
West Alabama is a Division 2 program located in Livingston, Ala. The Tigers finished 10-16 overall and 6-12 in the Gulf South Conference, tied for the worst record in the league.
Downey was two-time captain at UC, where he earned a degree in 1995. As a high school player he starred at St. Francis High School in Morgantown, where he averaged 37.6 points per game as a senior and was the runner-up for the West Virginia High School Player of the Year.
Prior to arriving at UC, he coached Arkansas Tech for four seasons.