Sean Burdette was hired as the head coach of the Green Bay volleyball program, Director of Athletics Mary Ellen Gillespie announced on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. Burdette, who most recently served as a top assistant at the University of Mississippi from 2011-13, brings 17 years of Division I coaching experience to the Phoenix, including three seasons as a head coach at Bradley University (2008-10).
“First, I would like to thank Director of Athletics Mary Ellen Gillespie, Chancellor Tom Harden, Assistant AD for Compliance and Student Services/SWA Debbie Kirch and the rest of the search committee for this incredible opportunity,” Burdette said. “My family and I are excited to become part of the Phoenix family. From my initial conversation with Mary Ellen and hearing her vision for the program and the athletics department, to stepping foot on campus, I knew that Green Bay has everything in place to compete for Horizon League championships.
“I am eager to get to campus and start working with the team next week. We have a great group of young women that have the same vision as Mary Ellen and I do of being successful on the court, in the classroom and in the community. We have a great core group of returning players, and will add several talented newcomers this fall. I can’t wait to get started and to be able to get out and meet additional members of the Green Bay community.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Sean, his wife Jaqueline and their daughters Brinley, Carlyn and Chase into the Phoenix family,” Gillespie said. “He will be an outstanding mentor for our student-athletes and will take our program to the next level. After a thorough and comprehensive search process, there is no doubt he is a perfect fit for this institution and our volleyball program.”
A proven leader and elite recruiter, Burdette has worked with several successful programs and players throughout his coaching career. Prior to his stints at Ole Miss and Bradley, Burdette made assistant and associate head coaching stops at Ohio State, Towson and Pittsburgh.
In three seasons as an assistant at Ole Miss, Burdette was responsible for coordinating offensive and defensive systems, as well as all video and statistical technology within the program. He helped land a pair of top-100 recruits in the class of 2013, and also developed an AVCA All-American, a USA Volleyball National A-2 Team Member and multiple All-SEC honorees.
Burdette inherited a Bradley team that went 3-28 prior to his arrival as head coach in 2008, and was able to increase the program’s win totals in each of his first two seasons. He lowered the program’s NCAA RPI by nearly 50 spots by the time of his departure, and Bradley volleyball also saw more than 100 percent increases in average attendance in each of his three years at the helm.
Burdette’s teams excelled in the classroom during his time at Bradley, as his program was recognized for having a 100 percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate. His teams also earned AVCA Team Academic Awards in all three seasons and posted an impressive 3.48 team grade-point average in 2009-10.
Burdette played a key role in leading the Ohio State’s perennial top-25 program to three NCAA Tournament appearances from 2003-08. As an assistant coach he was responsible for player development and recruitment, helping the Buckeyes to an Elite Eight in 2004, a Sweet 16 in 2006 and a Second Round showing in 2005. Burdette’s teams recorded 101 wins in five seasons, including a 30-4 mark during the 2004 run to the Elite Eight.
He was involved in assembling some of the nation’s top recruiting classes while at OSU, including the fourth-best class according to PrepVolleyball.com in 2004. Burdette mentored several national and Big Ten honorees, including the 2004 AVCA Player of the Year, Asics/Volleyball Magazine Player of the Year and Big Ten Player of the Year. In total, Burdette worked with 13 All-Americans, eight All-Big Ten players and seven AVCA All-Region selections.
Prior to joining Ohio State, Burdette was the associate head coach at Towson from 2000-03. His Tigers won the 2001 American East Conference regular season championship, finishing with a 28-4 record while recording the highest winning percentage in school history. Towson went 23-10 in Burdette’s final season, marking the first back-to-back 20-win campaigns in program history since 1989-90.
Burdette spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Pittsburgh from 1997-00, serving as recruiting coordinator, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator. He helped the Panthers to a pair of Big East Tournament appearances, including a trip to the finals in 1997, and worked with six All-Big East selections.
While completing work toward his degree, Burdette spent the 1996 season as a volunteer assistant coach at Ohio State. The Buckeyes went 27-6, finished third in the Big Ten and advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinals.
Burdette also played club volleyball for the Ohio State men’s team from 1990-93, as well as for the Buckeyes’ varsity team from 1989-90. He was team captain and a First Team All-Big Ten pick in 1993, helping lead his squad to a Big Ten Championship, a MIVA Championship and a No. 2 national ranking.
He went on to serve as head coach of both the men’s and women’s club teams at OSU, guiding the women to a semifinal finish in the 1997 National Collegiate Club Volleyball Championship and the men to consecutive Sweet 16 finishes in the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association Volleyball Championships.
A native of Silver Spring, Md., Burdette graduated from Ohio Dominican University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and Visual Communications. He got his coaching start at the high school level at Bexley High School in Columbus, Ohio, where he was the freshman coach in addition to being a junior varsity and varsity assistant from 1993-95.
Burdette becomes the fifth head coach in the history of the Green Bay volleyball program, taking the reins after Michaela Franklin accepted the associate head coach position at Iowa last month.
The Phoenix posted a 14-14 overall record in 2013 and a 9-5 mark in Horizon League play. Three postseason award-winners are expected to be back in 2014, as All-Horizon League honorees Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) and Jillian Bauer (Verona, Wis.) and Newcomer of the Year Shannon Hurley (Connellsville, Pa.) highlight a list of eight total returners.