BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Union College Interim Director of Athletics Tim Curry announced Tuesday the hiring of Kevin Burton as the 19th head coach of the Bulldog basketball program.
“I don’t know if there’s a more excited guy about getting a coaching job than me,” Burton said of joining the Union coaching staff.
Burton spent seven seasons as the head men’s basketball coach at Lambuth (Tenn.) University before the institution closed due to financial issues. During his tenure with the Eagles, Burton compiled an overall record of 139-75, averaging just fewer than 20 wins per season.
“We are real excited about having Kevin join our athletic staff here at Union,” said Curry. “Obviously, his success speaks for itself, and I look forward to watch his teams play here at Union.”
In addition to the impressive win total, Burton’s teams amassed a great deal of success at Lambuth. He had a team ranked in the top five of the NAIA Division I Coaches’ Poll in three consecutive seasons, had the nation’s top scoring team in 2008 (95.2 points per game) and ranked second two other times (92.0 ppg in 2007 and 91.0 ppg in 2010), and made three consecutive trips to the NAIA National Championship Tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2006.
“I think (the high-scoring offense) was a byproduct of our talent level (at Lambuth),” Burton said. “The most important thing is to have a basketball program that is enjoyable to be around, fun to watch and a real joy to be associated with. And when you put that all together, you’re going to have a real opportunity to win on and off the floor.
Under his tutelage, Burton had nine players selected as NAIA All-Americans, 17 make the all-conference team and nine earn a spot on the all-academic team. He also coach two conference players of the year, two conference freshmen of the year and the 2007 Basketball Times National Player of the Year. In 2007-08, Burton led Lambuth to the TranSouth Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships as he was named the TranSouth Coach of the Year.
“Regardless of how many points we’re scoring, I think we will be an enjoyable team to watch and be associated with,” Burton said. “The points and the system will work its way out in time.”
Burton is no stranger to the state of Kentucky. A native of Nicholasville, he graduated from Jessamine County High School before moving on to Asbury College, where he was a captain on its basketball team. In 1999, Burton received his masters from Eastern Kentucky University in sports administration. He became the head men’s basketball coach at St. Catharine College in 2000, coaching the then-junior college for four seasons before moving on to Lambuth.
Besides returning to the sidelines, Burton is happy to return to an area he has called home for much of his life.
“I’m chomping at the bit to roll up the sleeves and get to work and meet everyone I’m going to be working with because I think it’s going to be enjoyable and fun,” he said.
Burton also added, “Always felt fortunate and blessed to be able coach basketball but even more so now given the situation that took place at Lambuth.”
Burton is single and has a 3-year-old son, Grayson.
The Bulldogs went 8-23 overall and 5-11 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference in 2011-12.