Associate Head Coach/Running Backs
Burton Burns, an assistant coach at Clemson University the past eight seasons, has joined the Crimson Tide football coaching staff in January of 2007.
Burns has been part of six of the top 10 offenses in Clemson history as running backs coach for the Tigers. Burns has tutored star runners such as 2005 ACC Rookie of the Year James Davis, Reggie Merriweather, Travis Zachery and Duane Coleman at Clemson and former New York Jet Jerald Sowell at Tulane. This past season, Davis led the Tigers with 1,187 rushing yards on 203 carries and scored 17 touchdowns, while freshman C.J. Spiller had 938 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. The Tigers averaged 5.7 yards per carry during the regular season.
A native of New Orleans, La., Burns spent the last eight seasons with head coach Tommy Bowden at Clemson after a five-year stint at Tulane that included a 12-0 season in 1998. Over 13 seasons as a college assistant coach, Burns has regularly produced versatile running backs that have been effective in every phase of the game. His players have proven to be equally effective as pass catchers, as well as in the running game.
Burns spent nine seasons as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Saint Augustine High School in New Orleans, La., before joining Bowden’s staff at Tulane. Burns helped lead Saint Augustine to district titles in 1987, 1992 and 1993, his second stint at the school. Burns’ first experience as a coach also was at Saint Augustine, where he served as an assistant from 1977-79 and helped the school win three more district championships on the way to consecutive state titles in 1978-79. Burns also coached at New Orleans' Booker T. Washington High School in 1980 before a five-year stint as an assistant coach at Southern University in Baton Rouge from 1981-85.
As a player, Burns played fullback for four seasons (1971-75) at the University of Nebraska under head coach Tom Osborne. A member of three Cornhuskers teams that won at least nine games each season, Burns participated in the Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl as a player. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Nebraska in 1976.
Spent the 1997 and 1998 seasons at Tulane directing the Green Wave running attack ... during the 1998 season, the Tulane running attack improved to 202.4 yards per game to finish 23rd nationally ... played under legendary head coach Tom Osborne at Nebraska (1974,75) ... while there, the Cornhuskers played in the Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and Sugar Bowl ... helped his high school alma mater (Saint Augustine High in New Orleans, La.) win district titles in 1987, 1992 and 1993 ... also assistant coach at the school from 1977-79 when the Purple Knights won three district titles and back-to-back AAAA state championships in 1978 and 1979 ... coached four future NFL players at Saint Augustine High, including Louis Age, Tyrone Hughes, Sean Jackson, and David White ... while at Booker T. Washington High in 1980, the school won the district title ... during his stint at Southern, the Jaguars finished in the top two of the Southwestern Athletic Conference three times ... coached former New York Jets running back Jerald Sowell while at Tulane ... at Clemson, he coached First-Team All-ACC running back Travis Zachery in 2000 and 2001 ... Zachery set the Clemson record for touchdowns in a career and a single season under Burns’ direction and became Clemson’s eighth 1,000-yard running back in 2000 ... Clemson was 14th in the nation in rushing in 2000 ... Clemson established over 100 records on offense during Burns’ time there, including Zachery’s career touchdown mark ... Burns’ running backs were a big reason Clemson averaged 5.7 yards per play in 2003, second-best in school history ... helped Reggie Merriweather improve from 56 yards in 2003 to 670 yards and 11 scores in 2004 ... coached a pair of 700-yard rushers (James Davis, Merriweather) in 2005 when Davis was ACC Rookie-of-the-Year ... coached the duo of James Davis and C.J. Spiller to a combined 2,048 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2006, as Clemson averaged a school-record 5.7 yards per carry during the regular season ... Davis was a First-Team All-ACC selection and Spiller was a First-Team Freshman All-American in 2006.