Sean Burdette is entering his fourth season as head coach of the Green Bay Phoenix volleyball program in 2017, having turned the team into a Horizon League title contender after just three seasons on the job.
Burdette was named Horizon League Co-Coach of the Year for his team’s outstanding season in 2016, winning 20 games during the regular season (finishing 21-9 overall) and going 12-4 in the Horizon League to finish second in the league, just two games back of defending champion Cleveland State.
The 21 wins are the most since the 2003 season and second most all-time in the Division I era. The 12 league wins are the most in program history, besting the previous high of 10 in 2003. The team earned a runner-up finish at the Horizon League Championships, falling to No. 1 seed CSU in five sets in the tournament championship game.
Burdette helped Lydia DeWeese earn AVCA All-Region honors and All-Horizon League honors, while also coaching Megan Powers (All-Horizon League) and Maddie Yoss (All-Freshman Team) to All-League recognition. Burdette is the only coach in program history to earn coach of the year honors. Additionally, DeWeese, Powers and Taylor Totka earned All-Academic Team honors from the Horizon League.
In 2016, he guided Green Bay to a 12-win improvement from 2015, including signature wins against Pac-12 and Mountain West opponents Cal and UNLV. Despite a quarterfinal loss to Northern Kentucky in the Horizon League Tournament, the Phoenix posted an overall record of 17-13 under Burdette’s leadership that season— more than tripling its 2014 win total (5)— which marked the highest single-season win increase (12) in program history since becoming a Division I institution.
Additionally, Burdette oversaw senior libero Jillian Bauer’s development into the 2015 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year, the second ever player to do so in program history, as well as Lydia DeWeese and Jessica Wolf’s progressions into All-Conference performers. On the recruiting trail, Burdette along with assistant Jeanette Waldo have shown the ability to secure a number of the state’s top high-school players, including an incoming class featuring a two-time State Champion at DSHA, setter Maddie Yoss.
Burdette was hired as the head coach of the Green Bay volleyball program on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. He recently served as a top assistant at the University of Mississippi from 2011-13 and he spent three seasons as head coach at Bradley University (2008-10).
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.