Burns named Director of Athletics at RockhurstDecember 14, 2011

Rockhurst baseball coach Gary Burns has been named the new director of athletics at Rockhurst University, effective Dec. 13, 2011. He is the fifth full-time director of athletics since 1941.

Burns, who has served as the interim athletic director for the past eight weeks, will continue his duties as head baseball coach for the Hawks.

“As our baseball coach, Gary developed a reputation for athletic success, responsible stewardship, integrity, and passion for Rockhurst and our students,” said Rockhurst President Thomas B. Curran, O.S.F.S. “Gary and his team of coaches will continue our winning tradition on and off the field/court — being strong and respected. Our athletic program and the entire Rockhurst University community will benefit from his pursuit of the Magis, excellence in all endeavors.”

Rockhurst hired Burns in 1994 to rebuild the baseball program after the Hawks had gone 18 years without a program. Burns, who guided the Hawks to 28 wins in his first season, has posted a 570-393 record over the past 18 seasons.

Burns has led the Hawks to 13 post-season appearances, including five berths in the NCAA Division II Tournament. In 1999, Rockhurst captured the NCAA Central Regional and finished fourth at the NCAA Division II Championships in Montgomery, Ala.

The Hawks went back to the NCAA Tournaments in 2000 and 2003, losing to Central Missouri State in the regional finals both times. In 2004, Burns was named the Coach of the Year in the Heartland Conference as he guided the Hawks to the conference tournament championship.
Rockhurst finished third in its first season in the Great Lakes Valley Conference in 2006 and earned a berth in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. The Hawks finished second in the GLVC West Division and played in the NCAA Midwest Regional in 2009.

Prior to becoming the head coach at Rockhurst, Burns was an assistant baseball coach at Indiana State (1982-85), Vanderbilt (1985-91) and Clemson (1991-92).

Burns received a bachelor’s degree in education from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree in education from Indiana State University. He played two seasons on the Vanderbilt baseball team and was the ace reliever on the Commodores’ 1980 SEC championship team. He also played two seasons at Johnson County Community College.

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