By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
Mike Burdge's experience at the helm made him a perfect fit to be the Eagles new head football coach.
That’s what David Vinson, the Warner superintendent, said he was looking for to replace Chris McMullen who retired in January to devote more time to his family. The Eagles finished the 2012 season at 11-1 after a second-round playoff loss.
“(Vinson) has extensive head coaching experience and that was important because we’re going to be a young team,” Vinson said. “Coach McMullen said it was important to get someone experienced working with the offensive and defensive lines. Coach Burdge has always been an offensive line coach when he’s been a head coach. He fills our needs really well.”
Burdge, who has 29 years of coaching experience, comes to Warner after working the five years as an assistant coach at Westville. He’s also been a head coach at Oaks and Watts. He was Westville’s head coach for 12 seasons (1990-2002).
“I just felt they had the same expectations that I was looking for,” Burdge said. “After the interview, it felt like home. They had the same philosophies and values that I have.”
Vinson said out of the 27 coaches who applied for the job, eight finalists were selected. Burdge was chosen after two rounds of interviews.
During his tenure at Oaks, he was the powerlifting coach and guided the Warriors to a state championship.
“Strength training is a key for offensive and defensive lineman,” Burdge said. The strength coaches at Alabama and Oregon have made a big difference in those programs. Warner has made a lot of progress since introducing weight training and I want to continue that.”
Burdge was a walk-on at Oklahoma State in 1979 and played the offensive and defensive lines for former OSU coach Jimmy Johnson. His defensive line coach was former Chicago Bears’ coach Dave Wannstedt.
Burdge was approved by the Warner Board of Education at its Feb. 11 meeting, Vinson said.
Meanwhile, Gore athletic director Beverly Robison said Monday she has “offered someone” the head football coaching job to replace Lee Blankenship, but she declined to name the coach. She said she will not name the coach until the school board meets on March 11.