October 17, 2000

Basketball Hires New Assistants

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The Cornell men’s basketball team had a makeover this summer starting at the top.

After former head coach Scott Thompson resigned last July, the Red was forced to find a new head coach. This replacement came in the form of Steve Donahue, the former assistant coach at the University of Pennsylvania.

Wasting no time, Donahue began the process of hiring an extremely talented staff. Joining the Red as assistant coaches are Michael Burden and Joe Burke. After serving as a volunteer assistant last season, Neil Berkman was promoted to a full time assistant coach this year.

Michael Burden, a 1995 Rowan graduate, joins the Red after serving as an assistant at the University of Maine. Prior to his work at Maine, Burden also worked at Delaware State and at Lafayette. During the 1998-1999 season at Lafayette under head coach Fran O’Hanlon, the Leopards won the Patriot League title, and reached the NCAA Division I tournament with a record of 22-8.

An excellent post player in college, Burden’s primary focus will be working with the forwards and helping them to improve their inside game. He will also be helping the basketball team with NCAA compliance issues.

Burden is a “very hard worker, an excellent recruiter,” Donahue commented. “It is very obvious that he is happy to be on the staff.”

Joining Burden as an assistant coach is Joe Burke who attended Donahue’s alma mater, Ursinus College. Prior to Cornell, Burke worked at Philadelphia University.

Burke demonstrates a strong knowledge of the game, and will help the Red with on campus recruiting and scouting of future opponents.

Donahue commented on Burke’s true love of the game. “He has put a great deal of time into coaching and it’s his passion.”

Neil Berkman has just been named as a full time assistant for the 2000-01 season. Before serving as a volunteer assistant last year, Berkman worked as Coastal Carolina University’s administrative assistant. His position entailed coordinating team travel and film exchange, assisting with practices, scouting and on-campus recruiting. Before joining the Chanticleers, Berkman was an assistant varsity basketball coach at Maryland, where he was a 1991 graduate.

Donahue believes that because of Berkman’s experience coaching at the high school level, “he is very skilled at teaching the game.

“This is critical and is another reason why I hired him.”

With a new coaching staff, the Red looks to improve on last year’s 10-17 overall record. Fans won’t have to wait long to see if a new coaching staff is the spark that the Red needs to post a winning record. Cornell’s first regular season game is at home against Lafayette on November 18.

Archived article by Kristen Haunss