July 17th, 2012
Burns Has Knights LAX Moving Ahead
After one year, coach Burns reflects on BU LAX program
As Kevin Burns approaches his one-year anniversary at Bellarmine University as Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach in August, he says it’s been an exciting process that he looks to build upon for the upcoming season in 2012-2013.
“I thought the first year was pretty successful in changing the culture of the team. My predecessor who was the interim coach did a really good job of changing the off the field culture which was a huge help to me. We only had to change the on the field culture. The senior leadership and the older guys on the team really embraced the change and realized that what we were doing would really help them reach their goals of having a successful senior season. So, the rest of the team followed suit.”
Burns, who played lacrosse at Loyola (Maryland) and then went onto to pursue lacrosse coaching at Wagner College, Binghamton University, and University of Massachusetts, brought his own wealth of lacrosse knowledge and athletic experience to the Knights in 2011.
“I think the atmosphere here is it’s ‘a hard work thing’ and ‘a discipline thing.’ I came from a background from high school and college, and especially working at University of Massachusetts, where we kind of had the ‘blue collar mentality’ or ‘the underdog role’, and played with a little bit of a chip on our shoulders. I tried to bring that here, and the guys really did embrace it. A lot of these guys have that background when I tell them things like ‘hard work pays off’, they really do believe it. A lot of these guys, especially some of the Canadians, are the first guys in their families to go to college. So it’s not tough for them to see that role and see what an opportunity this is for them.”
Burns, who has great goals for the lacrosse program in the future, says he wants to focus on a few key ideas for the upcoming season.
“I think the biggest thing that we wanted to implement is that we can beat anyone, and anyone can beat us at any given time. We have to out work our opponents in order to beat them, and I think the guys embraced that this year. If you look at our stats for most of our games this past season, we were in just about every game. I think that shows that we are right on the cusp of going over the edge of being a really good team.”
As the only Bellarmine athletic program competing at the Division I level, Burns recognizes the challenges ahead. He said that set-up is unique with primarily a Division II Athletic Department, but he sees his team and the Lacrosse program as one part of the overall athletic program.
“It’s only Bellarmine, Johns Hopkins, and Hobart that have Division I Lacrosse at schools that are different divisions in all the other sports. For me, that hasn’t been that big of a difference (to be Division I at Bellarmine). I think that’s because we have so much support from the athletic department and it’s a very supportive environment.”
With support from the athletic department and the loyal fans of Knights nation, Burns envisions a team that will play at a quicker flow from defense to offense. He also hopes that his team will continue to move in that direction in order to become a great “transition team.”
“The biggest thing, which we tried to make an emphasis on this year, and we’re going to continue to place an emphasis on in the future, is that we have to have better execution and be a great transition team,” said Burns. “That is how we can beat some teams that might have better talent than us on paper. If we can finish in those transition opportunities we will be able to beat anybody in the country.”
While Burns is recruiting this summer for the next generation of Knights Lacrosse, he looks down field for goals and victory.
Said Burns: “Our goal is to make the ECAC tournament for the first time in program history. Once we make that tournament, we reassess where we are, and we reassess what our goals are going to be in the future. We are going to have to rely on a lot on young guys this year. It will be interesting to see how close we come or if we do reach it this year.”