The Commerce Journal

Sports

April 3, 2014

Former assistant returns to coach women’s basketball

COMMERCE — A familiar face is returning to coach for Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Former A&M-Commerce Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Jason Burton was announced as the new head coach of the women’s basketball team during a press conference on Thursday inside the Alumni Center.

A&M-Commerce President Dr. Dan Jones said he hopes the new coach will soon turn the struggling program around.

“This is a pivotal moment in women’s basketball,” he said. “I’m happy we’re going to be welcoming him back into the fold.”

Burton said he is glad to return to where he started.

“I am truly honored that President Jones and Athletic Director Ryan Ivey gave me this opportunity,” he said. “I’m excited to be back here.”

Burton comes to Commerce from a recent stint as assistant coach under former Head Coach Doug Davalos at Texas State, and more recently as head varsity boys’ coach at McKinney Boyd High School.

“I learned what I did right and what I did wrong,” he said. “I’m glad I had that experience.”

According to Ivey, Burton is the right coach to wake up the “sleeping giant.”

Ivey said Burton’s work in the Lone Star Conference, his knowledge of recruiting in East Texas, and his winning record as a coach led to Burton being brought to Commerce.

Having worked under Sam Walker, head men’s basketball coach at A&M-Commerce from 2007-2011, Burton said he learned a lot about the game from his former coach.

“The fact that I get to work alongside my mentor and work with Coach Craig Case, I’m excited,” he said. “There’s no place I’d rather be.”

This is the first time Burton has coached women.

He said although there are differences, he plans to coach the same core fundamentals of the game.

“Whether they’re male or female, it’s about coaching the right way,” he said. “At the end of the day, the thing I’m excited about is coaching basketball.”

Burton said his first priority is recruiting locally.

“We have to do a good job of tapping into the Metroplex,” he said, adding he also plans to recruit transfers from Division I schools. “We are making sure no stone is left unturned.”

Off the court, Burton said he will work with players to model how their men’s counterpart Walker has his team volunteer in the community.

“We need to do a good job in the community,” he said, adding he wants to establish a good rapport with both players and the community as a whole.

Burton said he hopes to continue the tradition of producing great players on the court, but off the court as well.

“It’s more than being a good athlete, it’s about being a good student,” he said.

At the end of the day, Butler said he’s glad to be back wearing blue and gold.

“I bleed blue and gold,” he said. “It’s a great day to be a Lion. God is good.”

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