The men’s heavyweight crew program just increased its roster with the addition of new assistant coach David Burke. Burke, who comes to the Red with five years of coaching experience following his own collegiate rowing career at Northeastern University, joined the Cornell program in August.
Burke spent this past year as head coach at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, where he led the team to multiple medals at the New York State Championships. Prior to his time at St. Joseph’s, Burke served as an assistant coach at Northeastern for four seasons.
Burke said the chance to work with such a high level of coaching was one of the reasons he was attracted to the Cornell program.
“The opportunity to work with gifted coaches on the collegiate level, on the heavyweight men’s, lightweight men’s and women’s coaching staffs was a huge draw,” he said. “I know that the time and effort each of them put into the day-to-day operations of running highly successful, highly competitive teams is something they take pride in. I look forward to helping add to that collective mentality.”
During his own collegiate career, Burke served as a coxswain for the Huskies. In his sophomore season, he led the second varsity eight to a sixth-place finish at the IRA National Championships. For the upcoming Cornell season, Burke said that the Red’s ultimate goal is a first-place finish at the prestigious IRA Championships.
“With a number of other strong programs across the country, that goal is always difficult, for any team,” he said. “With a ‘team first’ philosophy, and dedicated student-athletes and coaches, the goal is attainable, but there is a no replacement for hard work.”
In addition to his coxswain background in collegiate rowing, Burke credits his education at Northeastern as an influence on his coaching.
“I like to think I am as practical as I can be when coaching,” he said. “I’m not sure if I have a coaching style, but understanding the little things, as well as being able to multitask and be organized, is important. I’d like to think I was that way before I found rowing, but I’m sure being a coxswain helped. My degree is in secondary education, and I know that the courses I took are helpful when trying to teach anything, in or out of the classroom, on or off the water.”
Burke joins head coach Todd Kennett and associate head coach Matthew Smith as leaders of the men’s heavyweight team. Although Burke is unsure if there are any specific boats that he will work with, he said is eager for his opportunity to work with the whole program.
“Being excited to be here at Cornell is an understatement, so for me, any boat on any day is great,” he said. “I know Coach Kennett will use me where he thinks best, but again, I look forward to coaching any student-athletes.”
Original Author: Emily Berman