Tigers Hire Marc Burns to Lead Cross Country Team



July 11, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The University of Missouri is proud to announce the newest addition to the Tiger family - Marc Burns, who will take the helm of the cross country team starting this fall, as released by Head Coach Brett Halter on Friday (July 11th). 

"We are thrilled to bring Coach Burns into our family," Halter said.  "He is a true Tiger who embodies our core values of academic integrity, social responsibility, and athletic excellence.  He has demonstrated over the years that he has been able to win in the lives of the athletes he has coached, as well as equipping each of those athletes with the tools necessary to win in our sport."

It's been an exciting journey of nearly two decades for Burns, who arrives in Columbia as an already well-established figure in collegiate cross country and track, bolstered by 18 years as a Division I head coach.

"My dad is a Mizzou alum, so I grew up as a boy with posters of Tony Galbreath on my walls, and a Missouri football helmet on my nightstand.  So this is also kind of a dream come true for me to be able to come to Mizzou and be a Tiger," Burns said.

"I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and would like to thank Mike Alden, Mitzi Clayton, and Coach Halter for the opportunity to come to Missouri and become a Tiger," Burns continued.



The 2009 USTFCCCA (U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year and a four-time Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Cross Country Coach of the Year, Burns has displayed his commitment to creating a well-rounded program rooted in ideals of excellence on and off the course at each of the programs he has led.

"One of the things that really drew me here is that, at Mizzou, it's very very important to do things right.  To develop the person as a whole, and I think that's awesome...the commitment from the staff here in the Athletic Department, all the way from Mike Alden down, that that is really a key piece to what we do here at Mizzou," Burns said. "If I've ever done one thing right, I've done that right - I've worked hard to help student-athletes develop, not only as athletes, but as students and as people."

"I'm looking forward to diving in and getting to know these kids, finding out what their strengths and what their weaknesses are, where they're at in the developmental process, and building on that and helping them continue to become better and better," Burns said. "I'm also looking forward to doing that within the scope of the track and field family, and being a part of this staff and doing what I can to help this staff continue to grow.  And, I'm looking forward to them helping me continue to grow as a coach, because, as a coach, the minute you think you know everything is the minute you know nothing.  You have to always continue to work hard to grow as a coach.  I think that's going to be a great challenge here and I'm looking forward to it."

Burns arrived in Columbia from Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., where he served as head coach of the distance-heavy track and field program since 2010.

During his time as a Bradley Brave, Burns was charged with the restoration of the men's outdoor track and field program, which was disbanded in 1992.  The team was reinstated in 2012 and, under Burns' guiding hand, quickly gained momentum, culminating in the first NCAA Championships qualifiers since the mid-1970's with juniors Eric Delvo and Chase Coffey competing at the NCAA West Preliminary Round in the 3000-meter Steeplechase.

Burns also led the women to a historic season in 2014, closing with the team's first NCAA Championships qualifier since 1998 in sophomore Kristen Busch, who placed 18th in the 10,000-meter run at the finals.

Burns departed Peoria with a total of 14 USTFCCCA All-Academic team honors, four USTFCCCA All-Academic individual honors, eight All-MVC First Team finishers in cross country, 17 All-MVC First Team finishers in track & field, five MVC Champions, five NCAA West Preliminary Round qualifiers, one NCAA Outdoor Championships qualifier, and 13 new Bradley University School Records.

He adds those accolades to an equally impressive resume from his time as the head cross country coach, assistant track and field coach, at Wichita State University (2006-10).  A four-time MVC Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year (2006-09), and the 2009 USTFCCCA Midwest Region Women's Coach of the Year while with the Shockers, Burns guided the women to four consecutive MVC Cross Country team titles.  He also helped his student-athletes to six USTFCCCA All-Academic team honors, 22 individual MVC Championship titles, seven Wichita State School Records, and three NCAA All-American performances.

Burns began his career, though, at Loyola University in Chicago, where he graduated with his bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing in 1991.  While there, he also donned the Ramblers' uniform, earning two NCAA All-American finishes in track and clocking the third-fastest indoor 3000-meter run time in the NCAA for 1990 (7:58.91).  He also served as a two-time team captain. 

After graduation, Burns spent five years working in sales before returning to his alma mater in 1996 to take over the head coach position for cross country and track and field.  During his ten-year tenure at Loyola, Burns guided the men to their first NCAA Cross Country Championship team qualification (2005), claimed three Horizon League team titles, and pushed his athletes to excel in the classroom with three Academic All-Americans and 19 National All-Academic team honors.

Burns also coached 53 Horizon League Champions, 49 All-Conference performers, and 16 All-Region finishers.  Additionally, Burns developed the Sean Earl Loyola Lakefront Invitational into one of the premier meets of the cross country season, attracting 70 university/college teams, 35 high schools, and sponsorships from Nike and Fleet Feet Sports.

Burns comes to Columbia with his wife, Alana (Crisman), and four sons - Connor, Brian, Sean, and Cris.

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