Sunday February 24, 2013

ALBANY, N.Y.

Brendan Burke has one of those jobs that a lot of people might like to have. He's working in college basketball.

"Every day is different," said Burke, the director of basketball operations for the Boston University women's team. "Every day revolves around basketball, and it couldn't be better from that aspect. It's not like I go sit behind a desk every day.

"I don't know if I could do that after doing this."

A former three-sport athlete at St. Joseph, Burke's college athletic career was cut short by injury. He went to Endicott College, but couldn't play baseball after shoulder surgery.

Armed with a bachelor's in sports managment, Burke is in his third year of working at BU. He has spent the previous two years working as an administrative assistant for the athletic department.

An opening came up on head coach Kelly Greenberg's staff for a director of basketball operations, and Burke was hired.

"I didn't think I'd have this opportunity as fast as I did," he said. "Basketball is really kind of close-knit workforce. To get in quick was a huge benefit."

Burke is the third former Crusader in the college coaching ranks. Paul Culpo is the head basketball coach at Castleton State College in Vermont, while Britt Moore is the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford. Both of them are at Division III institutions.

Burke is helping a team that is 22-5 and 12-2 in the America East Conference.


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He was in Albany Thursday night to play UAlbany, and lose 79-72. The Terriers are ineligible for conference tournament play because they are moving to the Patriot League next year. So, Burke's team has the Women's NIT to look forward to. BU played in it last year.

Greenberg would be a winner in a Six Degrees of Berkshire County game. She coached Anna Kinne of Great Barrington when she was an assistant at Holy Cross, then recruited and coached Erin Ladley at the University of Pennsylvania.

"I hired him because he has a wonderful personality. He's a good man to be around. He works hard and he's smart," Greenberg said. "He wasn't even with us a week, and he was like everyone's best friend. He's been a great addition."

Burke played for Bill DiNicola at St. Joseph, and when asked, admitted that there are some similarities.

"She's pretty close to Coach D in the intensity level, day-in and day-out," said Burke. "Whether it's a meeting with a staff, with a player or with the team in the locker room -- it's top intensity at all times.That's why everybody loves her and respects her so much. It's not too much different from Coach D, really."

A director of basketball operations is, according to the NCAA, a non-coaching position. Burke is not allowed by rule to do any work with the members of the BU team.

"I can get a few words in here and there," he said. "We leave all the big stuff up to the [coaching staff].

"My hardest thing right now is how I would be itching to be out there," said Burke. "We said it before the game, all four of the assistants on the bench, wish we were out there at the starting tip."

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.