As he did with new Offensive Coordinator David Lee, Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt went back to the well of familiar, successful coaches from his past when he named Keith Burns the new secondary coach for the Rebels.
"This was easy for me. To get back with Houston was a no-brainer," said Burns. "We have had some great times on the sidelines together. Houston is one of the greatest competitors I have ever been around and I am thrilled.
"To get back in the SEC is also a thrill. I could not be happier."
Burns was Nutt's defensive coordinator in 1998 and 1999, during which time the Razorbacks were in the Top 20 in total defense in the nation.
After the 1998 season, Burns was a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top assistant coach.
Burns, who graduated from Arkansas in 1982, has been a college coach for 27 years.
From 1989-92, Keith was an assistant at Rice before spending five seasons under John Robinson at Southern Cal, four as the defensive coordinator.
From there, Burns teamed up with Nutt for two season before becoming the head coach at Tulsa for three seasons.
After the Tulsa gig, Burns went to San Jose State for six seasons, three as the defensive coordinator.
In 2010, he took a job at Kansas State with Bill Snyder as the defensive backs coach.
With the addition of Burns, Nutt has completed his revamped staff along with Offensive Coordinator David Lee and Passing Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Gunter Brewer.
Burns had a brief teleconference with various media outlets this morning and talked more about his new post.
"I can't wait to get started. The great thing about dealing with Houston is the appreciation you gain of how he does his job on a day-to-day basis," said Burns. "When you are away from him, like I have been, you appreciate the way he operates even more. It's great to be coming back to that environment.
"It's also great to be reunited with Mike Markuson, Chris Vaughn, James Shibest, David Lee - guys I know. It's like coming back home to your best friends."
Burns gave Vaughn, who will team up with Burns in the Rebel secondary, his first fulltime job in coaching when Keith was the head coach at Tulsa.
"That was the first indication Chris is smarter than I am. He was with me for two weeks and then headed back to Arkansas with Houston," Keith laughed. "I am looking forward to working with him. He has matured into an excellent coach and I have always thought a lot of him."
Burns has had limited contact with DC Tyrone Nix, but is looking forward to working with him.
"I saw Tyrone at the JUCO National Championship game and we talked for 5-10 minutes. I have known and respected his work for a while. He's been able to accomplish a lot as a defensive coordinator and coach. I have always admired the way he goes about doing his job," said Keith. "I'm excited about working with him.
"I'm looking forward to learning his system and moving forward with some of my secondary ideas being incorporated in his system. It will be fun."
Keith is starting from scratch at Ole Miss. Other than watching last year's Cotton Bowl while he was at Kansas State preparing for their game with Oklahoma State, Burns does not know much about the Rebel personnel - yet.
He characterized his style as a coach.
"I have a great passion for football and understand it. What I have never lost sight of is that it is a game and it's meant to be highly competitive," he explained. "I love working on the strategies involved in gameplanning. I am passionate about football and I enjoy the relationships you build with players.
"I care a great deal about my players. I was just texting with Dwight Lowery, who played for me at San Jose State and is now with the New York Jets. Those things mean something to me. I love to win and I love to compete at the highest level, that's why I am excited to be at Ole Miss and in the SEC."
Nutt rounds out staff - Updated
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