New Basketball Coach Ready for Success at Georgia Southern

Brian Burg: ‘We believe in a hard day’s work and doing right’

A coach’s first year on the job can be unpredictable. But Brian Burg believes his drive and work ethic will make his first year at Georgia Southern a successful one.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to be the head coach of the men’s basketball program here at Georgia Southern,” he said. “This is a dream come true. I believe that Georgia Southern is a hidden gem and that we are a microcosm of this region. We believe in a hard day’s work and doing right.”

Hired for his first head coaching job in late March, Burg’s transition to Georgia Southern occurred in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. However, he still managed to assemble his coaching staff and recruit nine new student-athletes.

“It has been a great transition,” he said. “I have been limited meeting people due to the pandemic, but I hit the ground running to put together a staff immediately. Once we assembled our tremendous staff with experience, we worked tirelessly to recruit players that fit the Georgia Southern mold. We were fortunate to get our players on campus this summer and work with them in developing our culture and philosophy to have success both on and off the court.”

Burg arrived at Georgia Southern with nearly a decade of experience as an assistant coach at the Division I level. He was hired from Texas Tech where he helped lead the Red Raiders to the 2019 NCAA National Championship game and the Big 12 Conference regular-season championship. “It was a surreal experience,” he said, to compete in the Final Four.

“Several factors allowed us to have success, but the main characteristic was a team that was extremely unselfish,” Burg said. “They all cared about each other and the priority was all about winning. Through some adversity during the season, the players came to the realization that they achieved more through team success and they sacrificed for each other. We had a mature group that approached each day with a chip on their shoulder and a goal in mind.”

Burg takes over an Eagles team that won 80 games over the past four seasons and said he could not have asked for a better situation than coaching at a university that “has a rich tradition in winning.” He expressed pride in his staff and said their number one priority is to build relationships based on trust with the student-athletes.

“One of the priorities when I was hired was to assemble a staff that has great experience, a winning culture and guys that just want to roll their sleeves up to put in an honest day’s work,” he said. “I have been extremely fortunate to surround myself with future head coaches. Each staff member has spent time at the Power 5 level and have all won at a high rate. The key characteristic for our staff is running a player first program that is based on solid relationships with our student-athletes.”

Burg explained his player first program means the coaching staff works each day to instill a sense of confidence in the student-athletes to help them develop a winning mentality.

“We want to make sure our players are taken care of and put into a situation each day for success,” Burg said. …“We have discipline, accountability and real relationships. We work each day to have consistency and execute our ‘process’ so that the players can develop both on and off the court. Every member of the program approaches each day with a chip on their shoulder. This is our winning mentality and a lot of that comes from each player and staff members’ stories.”

Burg, a native of Houston, Texas, knows first-hand the impact a coach can have on players’ lives.

“My father is my hero and I was raised by his life lessons,” Burg said. “He lives his life and runs his company based on the teachings his college coach provided him. This carried over throughout my life and allowed me to have a passion for coaching. … We believe in being unselfish, putting in a hard day’s work, sacrificing for others and being able to handle adversity. Coaching on Monday night in the national championship in front of 78,000 people is moving, but a random phone call from a former player stating that you impacted their life and helped guide them to success after basketball gives myself and our staff chills.”

Less than a year into his new job, the basketball coach said he enjoys coming to work each day and never feeling like it is actually work.

“I enjoy the people I am around and seeing young men turn into men by the daily culture that we emphasize each day,” he said. “They have bought into our ‘process’ and what we do on a daily basis. We have had major gains in the weight room, in our nutrition and on the court. We constantly emphasize that you can control your attitude and your effort. This group has done a great job of focusing on those characteristics and approaching each day with a winning mentality.”

As enthusiastic as he is about taking over the basketball program, the coach is just as excited about Georgia Southern fans.

“Packing Hanner Fieldhouse is a priority once we work through the pandemic protocols, but there is a direct correlation between fans in the seats and winning,” he said. “Our staff is working to build quality relationships in the community as well as on campus with our students. Hanner Fieldhouse is the toughest place to play in the Sun Belt. We appreciate the support and look forward to seeing everyone this year in Hanner. GATA.” — Sandra Bennett