CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Bobby Cremins retired Monday as men’s basketball coach at the College of Charleston, nearly two months after he left the team and went on a medical leave of absence.

Cremins addressed players, friends and administrators on the floor of TD Arena, where his voice cracked with emotion and he fought back tears in announcing the end to his coaching career.

“With the blessings of my family, my team, staff, friends, and the College of Charleston, I have decided to retire as our coach,” Cremins said.

The 64-year-old Cremins announced on Jan. 27 that he would miss the rest of the Cougars’ season and later said he was physically exhausted. Cremins’ went on an indefinite medical leave of absence but said his condition was not life-threatening.

College of Charleston athletic director Joe Hull said at the time that he planned to speak with Cremins over the next few weeks to determine it the coach will be out even longer.

“It was unfortunate what happened to me in late January. I didn’t like what happened and I’ll never know why,” Cremins said. “Our bodies sometimes send us signals, so we have to listen. The silver lining is that my staff, led by Mark Byington, my team, my school, they had my back and they responded in a special way.”

Ten days after his initial announcement, Cremins said on Feb. 6 that he “had no gas” and that his players knew. “They could feel it.” He added that while his energy level wasn’t where it needed to be, he was “definitely feeling a lot better” at that time.

Under Byington, the Cougars finished the season 19-12 and were not knocked out of the Southern Conference tournament in the first round for the first time since joining the league in 1998.

Cremins was in his sixth season with the Cougars when he stepped away in January after spending 19 years coaching Georgia Tech. He has led Charleston to 20 victories in each of his seasons.

The Cougars started this season 10-2 with wins against Clemson and Tennessee.

Hull said he would keep in touch with Cremins, but had no plans for the program’s future beyond having Byington finish the season.

Cremins is 579-375 in 31 seasons of coaching, and the Yellow Jackets named their home court for him before he returned to coaching in 2006.

Cremins grew up in the Bronx then came south to play for South Carolina and fellow New York-transplant Frank McGuire.

“I loved coaching in the state where I began my college playing career,” Cremins said. “I’ll never be able to thank the late, great coach (Frank McGuire) for bringing me to Columbia in 1965. I loved playing for the Gamecocks.”

Cremins got his first head coaching job at Appalachian State, leading the Mountaineers to the NCAA tournament in 1979.

Three years later, he left for Georgia Tech and the Atlantic Coast Conference. He led the Yellow Jackets to nine NCAA tournament appearances and reached the Final Four in 1990. He also won three ACC tournament titles and two regular-season crowns before the program tailed off and he was let go after the 2000 season.

“Coaching at GT in the ACC conference, coming back to the SoCon where I began my coaching career at Appalachian State was something special,” Cremins said. “Incredible journey for me and my family.”

Cremins spent the next several years as a college basketball analyst, playing tennis on Hilton Head, until deciding to come back to coaching at the College of Charleston.

The coach acknowledged feeling “burned out” while at Georgia Tech and sought to re-energize himself when he accepted the head coaching job with his alma mater, South Carolina, in 1993. Cremins, though, reneged three days later and returned to the Yellow Jackets for seven more seasons. Cremins has said he sought a psychiatrist’s help recovering from that flip-flop.

“Now, I know why I waited six years to get back into it,” Cremins said in February.

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
1975–1976 Appalachian State 13–14 6–6 5th  
1976–1977 Appalachian State 17–12 8–4 3rd  
1977–1978 Appalachian State 15–13 9–3 1st  
1978–1979 Appalachian State 23–6 11–3 1st NCAA First Round
1979–1980 Appalachian State 12–16 6–10 T–6th  
1980–1981 Appalachian State 20–9 11–5 T–1st  
1981–1982 Georgia Tech 10–16 3–11 8th  
1982–1983 Georgia Tech 13–15 4–10 6th  
1983–1984 Georgia Tech 18–11 6–8 T–5th NIT First Round
1984–1985 Georgia Tech 27–8 9–5 T–1st NCAA Elite Eight
1985–1986 Georgia Tech 27–7 11–3 2nd NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1986–1987 Georgia Tech 16–13 7–7 5th NCAA First Round
1987–1988 Georgia Tech 22–10 8–6 4th NCAA Second Round
1988–1989 Georgia Tech 20–12 8–6 5th NCAA First Round
1989–1990 Georgia Tech 28–7 8–6 T–3rd NCAA Final Four
1990–1991 Georgia Tech 17–13 6–8 T–5th NCAA Second Round
1991–1992 Georgia Tech 23–12 8–8 T–4th NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1992–1993 Georgia Tech 19–11 8–8 6th NCAA First Round
1993–1994 Georgia Tech 16–13 7–9 6th NIT First Round
1994–1995 Georgia Tech 18–12 8–8 5th  
1995–1996 Georgia Tech 24–12 13–3 1st NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1996–1997 Georgia Tech 9–18 3–13 9th  
1997–1998 Georgia Tech 19–14 6–10 6th NIT Quarterfinals
1998–1999 Georgia Tech 15–16 6–10 T–5th NIT First Round
1999–2000 Georgia Tech 13–17 5–11 8th  
2006–2007 College of Charleston 22–11 13–5 2nd (South)  
2007–2008 College of Charleston 16–17 9–11 3rd (South)  
2008–2009 College of Charleston 27–9 15–5 3rd (South) CBI Second Round
2009–2010 College of Charleston 22–12 14–4 2nd (South) CBI Second Round
2010–2011 College of Charleston 26–10 14–4 1st (South) NIT Quarterfinals
2011–2012 College of Charleston 16–9*      
Total    579–375      
*Coached partial season.