Greg Burnett has announced his coaching retirement at Texas Lutheran University after 13 years as head baseball coach and 22 total years with TLU Baseball.
Burnett will move into the campus recreation director role at TLU. He will oversee the campus recreation program, the university’s Dr. Burton E. Grossman Fitness Center, TLU’s intramural program, and the Mabee Aquatics Center. Debbie Roberts retired as campus recreation director on Monday. Roberts served in the position for 18 years.
Rick Heines, TLU’s associate head baseball coach, pitching coach and recruiting coordinator, has been promoted to head coach. A separate announcement on the hiring of Rick Heines was released at the same time as Burnett’s retirement statement.
“I cannot be prouder of the job Greg Burnett did with the Texas Lutheran Baseball program,” said Bill Miller, TLU’s director of athletics. “Greg and his staff always had the Bulldogs well prepared to succeed in the classroom, on the field, and in their lives after graduation. The Bulldogs have done a lot of winning in all three areas. I will always be grateful for the nine years I spent with Greg when he was my assistant, and I thank Greg for the care, leadership, and devotion he gave to TLU Baseball. We wish him all the best in his coaching retirement.”
As approved by TLU President Dr. Debbie Cottrell, the movements of Burnett and Heines within TLU Campus Recreation and TLU Athletics are effective immediately.
Burnett excelled as TLU’s head baseball coach for 13 years after working as the lead assistant coach and then associate head coach for Miller for nine seasons. Burnett posted a career head coaching mark of 346-190, all with the Bulldogs.
Burnett’s .646 winning percentage is the second-highest baseball winning percentage in school history. He is third all-time in TLU Baseball wins, trailing only TLU Athletics Hall of Famer Bill Miller and NAIA and TLU Hall of Famer Ray Katt.
Burnett led TLU to the 2018 NCAA Division III World Series in Appleton, Wisconsin. The Bulldogs finished as the national runner-up. He also led TLU to the 2018 Spokane, Washington Regional Championship, to the 2018 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship, to the 2016 and 2019 SCAC Regular Season Championships, to three American Southwest Conference West Division Championships, and to three total appearances in the NCAA Division III postseason. TLU hosted an NCAA DIII Regional Championship in Seguin in 2019.
Burnett was twice named Coach of the Year for the ASC West Division and twice named Coach of the Year in the SCAC.
“It has been a wonderful 22 years as a coach in this program,” Burnett said. “Unfortunately, the 2020 season came to an unexpected end without me having a chance at real closure and to express my gratitude to the 2020 Bulldog Baseball Team. They were a fun group to be around and on the cusp of making a really great run. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you guys in person.
“The decision to resign came down to my desire to spend more time with my family. It wasn’t made lightly or without a great deal of thought and prayer. A man only gets one chance to be a husband, father, and son. I want to be better at all three. Plus, I get to spend at least the next two years watching every game of my favorite ball player of all time. As a fan of the game, you can’t beat that.”
Burnett and his wife Michelle have a daughter, Ashley, and a son, Drew. Ashley will be a junior at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and Drew will be a junior at Seguin High School, where he is a member of the baseball team.
“I am forever grateful to the guys I was able to coach at TLU,” Burnett said. “It was certainly my privilege even if I never took the time to tell you. I am thankful for all the parents who entrusted me with their sons. I tried not to take that fact for granted. I am grateful to all the assistant coaches who worked alongside me for the last 13 years. I certainly worked with some great men and appreciate their friendship. I am grateful to the TLU Baseball Alumni who I didn’t coach but accepted me as a Bulldog. I am grateful to all of my coaches who helped influence me as both a coach and player. I am thankful for all the support staff that have put up with me over the years. (But really, I just made their lives easier). Finally, I am grateful to my family who supported, encouraged, tolerated and sacrificed to allow me to take this wonderful journey.”
Burnett led the Bulldogs to postseason appearances (either conference tournaments and/or NCAA tournaments) in 11 of the 12 years postseason opportunities were available. He coached 10 playing All-Americans, six Academic All-Americans, and three ABCA Gold Glove winners.
The Bulldogs recently won the TLU Athletics Men’s Team GPA Award for a second consecutive year, and the team in recent years has won the SCAC Team Sportsmanship Award for Baseball and ABCA Team Academic Excellence Awards.
A native of DeSoto, Texas, Burnett played two years of college baseball at Cedar Valley College in Lancaster, Texas. After his time at Cedar Valley, Burnett enrolled at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, where he played his final two years of collegiate baseball. At Howard Payne, Burnett was named the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association Co-Most Valuable Player in his senior season.
Burnett came to TLU in the summer of 1998 after serving as the assistant to the athletic director at Texas A&M University at Commerce in Commerce, Texas. He has a master’s degree in health and physical education from Texas A&M-Commerce. Burnett completed his bachelor’s degree in 1995 at Howard Payne, where he majored in psychology and graduated with a 3.70 GPA.