COLUMBUS, Miss. - Dedrick Burnett was named as the assistant coach for the Owls cross country and track and field programs. Burnett joins The W staff after spending seven years in Jackson, Miss. as the equipment manager and graduate assistant coach at Jackson State University and a volunteer coach with the Mississippi Trackstars summer track club for youth athletes ages 6-18.
"It's an honor to be granted the opportunity to come in and assist Coach Ferguson and Coach Turnipseed," stated Burnett. "Track and field is a passion of mine and I love to share the knowledge of the sport with others."
He continued, "To help build a program from the ground up and assisting another program still in its infancy will be an exciting and challenging task, but I have always enjoyed a good challenge. As a former decathlete, I will bring much knowledge to the staff for both track and field events and cross country."
As a coach at JSU, Burnett coached and mentored several multi-event athletes to see the Tigers men's track program reach as high as second place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships. While on the women's side, distance runners under his guidance garnered top marks with several achieving third place success.
Volunteering with young athletes has been a desire of Burnett since he graduated from high school. He too has competed for a summer track program (Mobile Parks & Recreation Department) in Mobile, Ala. where he met Coach Jay Shine. Coach Shine became his motivation to get into coaching as he looked up to him as father figure and mentor. Over the past seven years, Burnett has had the opportunity to coach several young athletes who qualified to compete at the USATF Junior Olympics Championships with some securing national medals and All-American honors.
As a student-athlete at Jackson State, Burnett competed in the decathlon, 800-meter run, 400 hurdles, long jump, pole vault, and threw the javelin. His coaches best describe him as a "Swiss Army Knife" because he was able to compete in so many events. He was a three-time all-conference performer for his performance during the indoor seasons and four-time all-conference performer for outdoor competitions.
Burnett is a native of Mobile, AL where he attended John L. LeFlore High School graduating with an Advanced Honor Diploma in 2006. He later attended JSU and graduated with his B.S. in health, physical education, and recreation administration in 2012.