Boyd voyage: Burton returning to college coaching after one season with Broncos


Overview

Published: 04/04/2014

by McKinney Courier-Gazette

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On Thursday, Burton was announced as Texas A&M Commerce-University’s new women’s basketball head coach.

“I went to do the press conference at 2 p.m. [Thursday] and I probably knew everyone in the room but two people,” Burton said. “It’s really good to be back around familiar faces, and I’m excited to get started over there.”

He returns to A&M-Commerce after spending four seasons, 2007-11, with the men’s basketball program as an assistant coach and an associate head coach under Sam Walker. Burton helped the Lions to a 68-43 record before leaving to take an assistant coaching position at Texas State University.

“[Walker] was kind of my mentor,” Burton said. “He’s the guy who brought me into college coaching. A chance to work alongside him and build that program up, it was a chance I couldn’t pass up.”

Burton will take over at A&M-Commerce for Nicole Anderson, who compiled a record of 26-126 in five seasons with the Lions before stepping down March 7.

“It’s a dream job for me,” Burton said.

Accepting the job with A&M-Commerce didn’t come without consequences, though. Burton informed McKinney ISD athletic director Shawn Pratt and Boyd athletic coordinator Don Drake that he would be interviewing with the Lions, but the hard reality came after accepting the offer to return to college coaching.

“The toughest part was I had to tell the kids on Tuesday,” Burton said. “That was the toughest part of it all, because we definitely went through a rough year this year.

Burton was faced with a tough task in his lone season with the Broncos, replacing now-Plano Senior head coach Dean Christian. Christian had gone 20-10 and reached the postseason with a senior-heavy team, and Burton entered this season with a roster that contained little to no varsity experience.  

“We persevered through tough times and learned how to just keep going with the process,” Burton said. “We had a plan in place and a process we believed in and the kids bought into that process. They never stopped working hard."

The Broncos suffered through a tumultuous season under Burton in which they recorded one win in the regular season, a 61-52 victory over Fort Worth Eastern Hills on Nov. 30, before going 0-10 in District 10-5A, so the news that the coach that had been there in the trenches with them throughout it all was leaving was not initially well received by the team.

“They were shocked,” Burton said. “I think initially some of them were hurt. I think at first they probably thought I was abandoning them.”

Burton returned to the school the next day to find that the players’ attitudes about their head coach’s departure had completed a 180.

“I had a chance to talk to a lot of the kids one-on-one. After they slept on it, they kind of understood the situation and were happy for me,” Burton said. “(Broncos senior guard) Al Hernandez just texted me. I had kids write me personal letters and thank-you letters. The response on Wednesday was great. They were all happy for me.”

Despite leaving to return to the college coaching ranks, Burton will continue to keep tabs on the maturation process of the growing Broncos roster.

“I think there’s going to be some talented young guys that come out of that group,” Burton said. “I’m excited to see (junior guard) Colton Head, (freshman forward) Aidan O’Brien, (freshman guard) K.J. Harris, (sophomore forward) Daniel Grant and (sophomore forward) Avery Mason. Those guys are going to be special. They bought in.”