USF's Burnham to Be Assistant Head Coach

(February 7, 2006) Tampa, Fla. -- Wally Burnham, long considered one of the best defensive minds at the top levels of college football, has been elevated to assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at the University of South Florida, head coach Jim Leavitt announced today. Leavitt also announced previous assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator Rick Kravitz has resigned his position at USF.

"When Bob Stoops and I were co-defensive coordinators at Kansas State," says Leavitt, "we would go visit with defensive coaches around the country to develop our defense. One of the first guys on the list we would visit every year was Wally Burnham. I have great admiration for Wally and his defensive mind. He is a tremendous coach and a tremendous leader."

Burnham, who has been on USF's staff since 2000 and worked as co-defensive coordinator with Kravitz since 2001, has had an ultra-successful career, including impressive stints at Florida State (1985-93) and South Carolina (1994-98).

At Florida State, Burnham coached star linebackers Derrick Brooks, Marvin Jones, Paul McGowan, Jesse Solomon and Garth Jax. Jones won a Lombardi and Butkus Award while McGowan was also a Lombardi winner. At USF, Burnham developed Kawika Mitchell, who now starts for the Kansas City Chiefs, and he has been pivotal in developing current linebackers Stephen Nicholas, Ben Moffitt and Patrick St. Louis, who figure to be among the top starting linebacker corps in the BIG EAST and the nation in 2006.

Burnham was on the Florida State staff for the 1993 National Championship season before heading to South Carolina as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator in 1994. Burnham switched the Gamecocks to a 4-3 defense and built what many considered the most improved defense in the SEC. His unit ranked as high as 22nd in the nation and played a key role in South Carolina's win over West Virginia in the 1996 Carquest Bowl.

Burnham has been in coaching for 38 years, including 32 at the college level and two at the professional level (1983-84) with the USFL's Arizona Wranglers.

At USF, Burnham and Kravitz have built an impressive defense that has ranked 17h in the nation in three of the past five years, including 2005, a season that included a 45-14 win over offensive-minded Louisville and a 27-0 shutout at Syracuse. Burnham will continue to work with USF's linebackers.

Leavitt indicates he will hire a secondary coach with the position left vacant by Kravitz.

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