FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State women’s basketball team has added Rico Burkett as an assistant coach for the upcoming 2018-19 season. Head coach Ryun Williams announced the addition of Burkett on Thursday.
Currently the girls basketball coach at Northwest High School, Burkett was also the head coach of the Wayne State men’s basketball team for nine seasons, finishing his tenure with the Wildcats with the third-most wins in program history (111).
“Rico and his family will be tremendous additions to Colorado State University and our women’s basketball program,” Williams said. “My relationship with Rico goes all the way back to our playing days, as well a lengthy overlap when we were both at Wayne State.
“I have always had great respect for his ability to interact and relate to players as well as develop their games. Rico is just a very knowledgeable basketball guy who will no doubt help move us forward.”
Burkett spent 13 seasons total with the Wayne State men’s basketball program, previously serving as an assistant coach under current Creighton head coach Greg McDermott for four seasons before being promoted to head coach upon McDermott’s departure.
“Mandy, Taryn, Marcus and I are excited to join the Ram family,” Burkett said. “Coach Williams is one of the brightest coaches in the country, and he has established a rich basketball tradition during his time at Colorado State University.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to join his staff and be a part of the CSU basketball family. We look forward to moving to Fort Collins and getting involved in a great community. I’m excited to get to work and start building relationships.”
During his tenure at Wayne State, Burkett recruited and developed 19 All-NSIC (Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) players, including nine First-Team All-NSIC selections, five Second-Team All-NSIC picks, three Third-Team All-NSIC honorees and two All-NSIC Honorable Mentions. He also coached 1998 All-American Tyler Johnson, as well as All-America Honorable Mention Brad Joens in 2000-01.
Academics were a point of emphasis for Burkett at Wayne State, and he served as academic coordinator for all basketball student-athletes during his WSC tenure. His teams boasted a 100 percent player graduate rate, a 3.0 team GPA or better in 15 of his 18 semesters as head coach.
This marks a return to the collegiate coaching ranks for Burkett after a nine-year hiatus from the game.
In between college coaching stints, he has served his community in various positions in Grand Island, including at Boys Town (2010-13 – shelter school/youth care worker), the Department of Health and Human Services (2013 – child and family services specialist), and presently, as an alternative education specialist at Northwest.
While teaching at Northwest, Burkett assisted the boys’ basketball coaching staff from 2013-15 and before taking over the girls program.
Burkett begins his duties at Colorado State in June.
Notably, the careers of Williams and Burkett overlapped for eight years at Wayne State, as Williams held the head coaching job for the women’s program during Burkett’s tenure as men’s head coach.