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Burdette steps in as volleyball coach

Adam Hansen , Sports Writer, Commentary
April 1, 2014
Filed under Sports

The UW-Green Bay volleyball team has a new head coach for this coming season. Sean Burdette was announced to replace Michaela Franklin, who left to take the associate head coach position at Iowa.

“I look back to my first conversation with [Director of Athletics] Mary Ellen Gillespie and just how drawn in I was in terms of her vision for the program, volleyball wise, and also being part of the university and community here,” Burdette said. “The things we talked about just really matched up well. The team here is hungry for a championship and it all fell together in the right time and place.”

“Becoming a Packers fan, and to get out and work with the players and see who they are and what they do well really excites me,” Burdette said. “There is a lot of potential for growth.”

Burdette has a long history of coaching volleyball. He first started as a freshman high school coach at Bexley High School in Columbus, Ohio.

“I played volleyball since junior high and got bit by the coaching bug while playing,” Burdette said. “I found myself coaching through my playing days and it was just a natural transition from playing to coaching.”

Since then, he has worked his way up the ladder. He has been an assistant coach at large universities such as Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Mississippi. Most recently he was the head coach at Bradley University from 2008-10.

All his coaching stops have greatly helped Burdette’s coaching experience.

“I was able to take a lot of experience from each one,” Burdette said. “There are bits and pieces you try and take away from every stop.”

Athletics aren’t the only thing that is important to Coach Burdette.

“Academics are highly important. Academics are what prepare the student-athletes for life after college. Yes, we want to win a championship but we want to create well-rounded women.”

Burdette has shown he cares about academics in the past. While at Bradley, they had a 100 percent graduation rate and had a 3.48 team cumulative grade-point average in 2009-10.

Last year, the Phoenix finished with a record of 14-14. Coach Burdette hopes to improve that record this year.

“We have a good core group of returning players. We return Freshmen of the Year, and all-conference players. We have two more years of this core group, and we can add some more players to the core group and contend for a championship.”

Burdette also wants to get the attendance rate up. When Burdette was at Bradley, the attendance rate rose 100 percent each year.

“It’s all about getting out there and almost knocking on doors  and invite them in and make connections with the players and make them feel part of the program.”

Lastly, Burdette wants to bring some new characteristics to the team.

“We would like to be known as a hardworking, hardnosed team that’s going to play tenacious defense and they are going to get after it.”