August 28, 2003

Burden Leaves M. Cagers For Florida Atlantic Job

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Changes are in store for the men’s basketball team this season, as assistant coach Mike Burden has left the team to accept a similar position at Florida International. Burden was head coach Steve Donahue’s top assistant for the past three years and was responsible for recruiting and instructing low-post players.

“I think Mike saw an opportunity to work for a guy he’s known for a long time,” said Donahue, describing Burden’s decision to join Golden Panthers’ head coach Donnie Marsh. “It’s a situation where he thinks he can grow professionally in another league.”

With Burden’s departure, assistants Joe Burke and Izzi Metz were each moved up a spot on Donahue’s staff. Burke, who becomes the top assistant as he enters his fourth season with the Red, will take on the role of recruiting coordinator. He had been Cornell’s primary field recruiter for the past three years, and in that time has helped bring in some of the top new talents in the Ivy League, including 2003 Ivy Rookie of the Year Lenny Collins.

Metz, who will be in his third season with Cornell, will add increased recruiting responsibilities to his job description. Metz has worked with both frontcourt and backcourt players in his two years with the team thus far. He has also served as head coach of the junior varsity squad. Under his tutelage, three players advanced to the varsity team — Brandon Barton ’03, senior Kevin Farley, and junior King Ogbogu.

“It was good in the sense that I was able to advance a guy like Coach Metz,” said Donahue. “In this profession, you hope that somebody moves into a good job and you get promoted.”

Donahue recently hired Paul Fortier to fill out his coaching staff for the 2003-04 season. Fortier has a slightly different background than the rest of the staff, coming in with extensive professional playing experience. He has spent the last 14 years playing in various European professional leagues after a college career at Washington.

Fortier, a 6-9 former power forward, will work primarily with the Red’s centers and forwards.

Cornell’s season will kick off on Nov. 23 against Georgia Tech in Newman Arena.

Archived article by Owen Bochner