In today's press release the new coach said the following:
"I am very excited to take over the head coaching duties at one of the top academic and athletic collegiate institutions in the country. I also look forward to the opportunity to lead a Michigan program that has made a commitment to women's basketball."
Burnett was head coach for 15 seasons at SMSU. In that time she posted a record of 319-136 (.701 winning percentage), which included a 201-65 (.756 winning percentage) record in conference play. She also led her teams to postseason play 11 times, with two of those runs culminating in Final Four appearances in 1992 and 2001. On that 2001 team she coached the eventual WNBA rookie of the year, Jackie Stiles, as she set the NCAA career scoring record.
Coach Burnett resigned from her job as women's coach at SMSU in April 2002, siting a desire to fulfill her career aspirations elsewhere. She stated in an April 22, 2002 SMSU press release, "I've always thought that I'd leave SMS for a job at another university…I have no jobs and no interviews at this time. I'm stepping out on faith."
With Coach Burnett being such a big name in coaching circles, it didn't take long for her phone to start ringing. The University of Minnesota had her on the top of their list until she decided to turn down the offer. In the May 7 2002 edition of the Pioneer Press, Burnett stated, "It came down to the school not having an A. and possible NCAA sanctions. I was very much considering the job. If I wasn't, I wouldn't have gone through the process as far as I did. I still think that's a fantastic job for a coach. They're in the Big Ten, and they've got a great team coming back. I just thought it was in my best interest not to make that move."
Her name was mentioned prominently in just about every coaching search on the horizon. However, she ultimately ended up sitting out last season. That development turned out to be beneficial to Michigan as Coach Burnett emerged as the leading candidate their open coaching spot. In today's press release Bill Martin mentioned his feelings upon learning of her interest in Michigan. "When Megan told me that Cheryl was interested, I recalled Cheryl's great teams from Southwest Missouri State and I thought to myself, 'She's the one for Michigan.' I am very happy that Cheryl will be guiding this program." Hopefully the fresh perspective will quell some of the disgruntlement that was apparent in some of the players under Coach Guevara.
To view the official press release, which includes a detailed bio on Michigan's new coach, click here.
New Women's Basketball Coach Named
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