UB Media Announcement:
BUFFALO, NY – Becky Burke has been named the 13th head women’s basketball coach in school history, University at Buffalo Vice President and Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt announced on Wednesday. Burke comes to Buffalo from USC Upstate where she was named the 2022 Big South Coach of the Year.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Becky Burke to our UB Family,” said Alnutt. ”Throughout this search process, she quickly separated herself from the other candidates by displaying an infectious passion for the sport, a strong work ethic, and a competitive nature while forging genuine relationships with her student-athletes as she prepares them for success both on and off the court. She articulated a vision for this program which will build upon the success that we’ve had and continue to make our brand nationally recognized as a premier basketball program. Becky is a rising star in our industry and a proven winner which is very apparent at all of her previous stops. University at Buffalo Women’s Basketball is in very good hands for years to come.”
“I would like to thank Mark Alnutt, President Tripathi and the rest of the search committee for trusting me to be the next head coach here at the University at Buffalo,” said Burke. “From the start of this process, Mark and my vision for the women’s basketball program at UB have aligned perfectly. This program has been built under Coach Legette-Jack’s leadership into a dominant program in the MAC with national respect. I am fully committed to keeping it that way and becoming the premiere mid-major destination for some of the best players in the country. We will pride ourselves on continuing to raise the bar on the court but also be great representatives of this University and the City of Buffalo. Again, I am humbled and so appreciative of this opportunity and can’t wait to get on campus.”
Burke spent two successful seasons as the head coach of USC Upstate. She took over the program in 2020 and immediately led the Spartans to five Big South Conference victories, their most in four seasons. In just her second year, Burke engineered one of the best turnarounds in the country, leading an Upstate team picked 10th in the preseason to the No. 3 overall seed and a first-round bye in the 2022 Big South Championship. Her club tied the program’s Division I era record for overall wins (22) and conference victories (14) while holding the D1 era’s longest winning streak (seven games) as the team made a 14-win improvement from the previous season. Under her guidance, freshman Rachael Rose earned Big South Freshman of the Year honors and Chellia Watson joined Rose as an All-Conference honoree, earning first-team All-Big South accolades. The Spartans finished the season ranked sixth in the nation in field goal percentage.
Prior to taking the reins at Upstate, Burke had an impressive two-year stint at the NCAA DII level as the head coach at the University of Charleston in West Virginia. She brought the Golden Eagles back to national prominence in just her first season at the helm of the program in 2018-19, leading the team to a 25-7 record which was a 12-win improvement from the previous year. The Golden Eagles cracked the national top-25 that season and made their first NCAA Tournament since 2014 while leading the country in field goal percentage and the Mountain East Conference in defensive scoring. Burke coached a pair of first-team all-conference picks which included a DII All-American.
In her second year, the Golden Eagles entered the 2019-20 season as the conference’s preseason No. 2 team and went on to a 23-7 record while once again leading the conference in defensive scoring behind another pair of all-conference picks and the MEC Freshman of the Year.
Prior to her time at Charleston, Burke started the women’s basketball program at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ. in 2015 and went on to be the head coach of the Eagles for two seasons. She led the team to a winning record in its inaugural campaign in 2016-17. In her second season at ERAU, the Eagles ranked nationally in the NAIA top-25 and compiled a 21-6 record, including 11-3 in the California Pacific Conference. Burke recruited and coached three all-conference performers in two seasons at ERAU.
Burke earned a spot on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association 30-Under-30 list in 2019. She was the only head coach to appear on the exclusive list.
Before her head coaching career, Burke served as an assistant coach at Saint Joseph’s College for the 2014-15 season where she was the recruiting coordinator and strength and conditioning coach while also being responsible for player development, scouting, and scheduling. Prior to that, she was the director of basketball operations at California State Fullerton in 2013-14.
Burke had a standout playing career at the University of Louisville where she graduated with a degree in sports management in 2012. In four years as a Cardinal, she helped lead her team to three NCAA Tournament appearances including the championship game in 2009 and the Sweet Sixteen in 2011. She led the Cards in scoring her sophomore year and in 3-point field goal percentage her junior year. She tied a then school record for 3-pointers in a game (8) her senior year and ranks fifth all-time in 3-pointers made (249). Burke is a member of the 1,000-point club and was just the second Cardinal to participate in the State Farm College 3-Point Shoot-Out in 2012, finishing as the runner-up.
A native of Clarks Summit, PA, Burke starred at her hometown high school, Abington Heights. She was named the Pennsylvania Class 4A Player of the Year her senior year by the Associated Press and scored over 2,100 points in her four-year high school career.
“I am very excited to welcome Coach Burke to UB,” said UB President Satish Tripathi. “Her vision for excellence for student athletes on and off the court and our women’s basketball program makes her an ideal fit for our university. I look forward to seeing Coach Burke take our outstanding women’s basketball program to even further heights of success.”
An introductory press conference will be held on Friday, April 8 at 12pm in Alumni Arena.