Lane names Burroughs head coach

By Matthew Borenstein
Updated: February 9, 2010

TENNESSEE — Former Memphis State star and NFL first-round draft pick Derrick Burroughs said he had long wanted to be the head football coach at Lane.

He now is, and that means it’s time to learn about what he has in the program.

He was announced as the Dragons’ new head coach last Friday afternoon, replacing Trent Boykin.

Burroughs, a defensive back who played five seasons with the Buffalo Bills, spent 16 years as an assistant coach in small-college football and various minor professional leagues (he also interned in the NFL) before getting his first head coaching position.

“I think this was way past my time,” Burroughs said of becoming a head coach.

Burroughs said he hasn’t watched any film of the team and doesn’t know anything about any returning players or who is even returning.

“I’m looking forward to getting in there and finding out exactly our needs and priorities and addressing them as soon as possible,” said Burroughs, who has been in Jackson for a week.

Burroughs said he has contacted several high school coaches in Memphis, where he still has connections, and plans to mainly recruit in that city.

“We’re going to go all over Tennessee, but we’re going to primarily try to go to Memphis first and try to make sure we take care of all the kids. Then we will reach out from there,” Burroughs said.

“Memphis is going to be our first priority in terms of going down and making sure that we can get some quality players from Memphis.”

He is getting a late start, and he said he knows that.

National Signing Day was last Wednesday, with most NCAA Division I colleges completing their recruiting classes. Smaller schools (Lane is in NCAA Division II), including the local NAIA schools, continue to recruit.

“There’s a lot of players out there,” said Burroughs, who will be the defensive coordinator and coach the secondary. “We just need to go out and find them.”

Burroughs said he applied for the Lane coaching job before and kept in touch with the administration.

He has been trying for the job for a while, including applying before Johnnie Cole was hired.

“It’s always a job that I wanted,” Burroughs said. “I know a lot of coaches say that, but this is actually true. I want to come here and make a difference. I want to turn this program around.

“If you really want to test what kind of coach you are, this is the job you take. It’s easy to go to the University of Tennessee and win sometimes or the University of Alabama. You can walk in any high school and get pretty much any player you want.”

Burroughs is the sixth Lane head coach since 2002 and the school has won 17 games in the past eight seasons, with several more wins vacated because of NCAA violations. Boykin did not win a game last season.

Burroughs said he isn’t concerned with all the coaching changes in the program.

“Whatever reasons for the turnover in the program has nothing to do with me,” Burroughs said. “I’m here. They gave me a fresh start.”