Sean Burns
Sean Burns
College: Holy Cross `88
Position: Former Head Coach
Nine-year head coach Sean Burns closed out his collegiate coaching career by earning his fourth West Coast Conference Coach of the Year honor. Burns, who also earned the recognition in 1997, 1998 and 2000, announced his retirement in May 2002 and his decision to enter private business. In his final season at the helm, he led the Bronco program to 18 victories, its highest national ranking, and an undefeated home season. He retires as the winningest coach in Bronco history, with a 130-91 record over nine seasons, and 12 All-WCC selections.

"I've been considering a number of options in my life for quite some time and now is simply the time to take advantage of them," said Burns. "If I were to continue to coach college tennis, there is no place I would rather coach that at Santa Clara. And, there is no other group of players I would rather coach than the team we have right now. Santa Clara will always have a special place in my heart and I have loved every minute of being here."

"Sean has done a great job in building our men's tennis program and we will certainly miss him," Director of Athletics Cheryl Levick said. "He inherited a team that had previously not achieved a great deal of success and built it into a program that is well-respected and nationally-ranked. We wish him well in all his future endeavors."

For Burns, the 2002 season was the eighth time in nine seasons that he has posted at least 12 wins. SCU peaked at No. 55 in the April 10 edition of the ITA rankings, marking the highest ranking ever for the program, dating back to its debut in the national spotlight two seasons ago. Additionally, the Broncos won 12 matches in a row during its toughest stretch of the season, and went undefeated at the SCU Tennis Center.

Already Santa Clara's winningest coach in men's tennis history when the 2001 season began, Burns reached a new plateau when his team defeated San Francisco 7-0 on February 3, notching his 100th career victory.

For some years prior to the arrival of Burns on the Mission Campus for the 1994 season, the men's tennis program had struggled. After inheriting a team that had won just nine matches in three seasons, Burns has reshaped the identity of SCU tennis into one of the most improved and dynamic programs in the country. A strong motivator and relentless recruiter, Burns taught his teams to play an attacking game style.

The Broncos began 2001 with their first-ever preseason national recognition: No. 75 in the WingspanBank.com Collegiate Rankings, administered by the ITA. While notching a fifth-straight winning season, SCU peaked at No. 69 in late March. Placing third at the conference championships, the squad went 15-9 for the second consecutive year, including a 10-1 mark at home. In addition to defeating three teams who spent time in the national rankings, the Broncos enjoyed their first-ever victory over UC Santa Barbara.

In 2000, Burns guided the Broncos to a 15-9 record and an unprecedented spot in the conference finals against perennial league champion Pepperdine. The Broncos won nine of their final 10 matches, including the program's first three wins over nationally ranked teams, defeating 24th-ranked Harvard, No. 36 Pacific and No. 42 San Diego. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association rewarded the program with its first-ever national ranking, debuting at No. 57 in mid-April, while league coaches honored Burns with his third WCC Coach of the Year honor.

In 1999, Burns led Santa Clara to a 14-10 mark, reaching the conference semifinals for the third straight year. Burns earned his second consecutive WCC Coach of the Year honor the year prior after leading Santa Clara to a third-place finish at the league tournament. In 1997, Burns earned his first conference coaching honor following a season in which the Broncos finished 18-6, setting a school record with a .750 win percentage.

Burns guided the Broncos to a nine-match turnaround in 1994, his first year at Santa Clara, from 3-18 in 1993 to a 12-11 mark. He followed his rookie season with a 14-12 mark in 1995 before dipping to 9-17 in 1996. Since then, Santa Clara has established itself as one of the true up-and-coming programs on the West Coast.

Before taking over the Santa Clara men's tennis program, Burns played on the International Tennis Federation's Satellite Circuit and held a world ranking on the ATP Tour in 1992 and `93. He also served as a part-time assistant coach at his alma mater, Holy Cross, from 1988 through `91.

A 1988 graduate of Holy Cross, Burns was the Crusaders' top singles and doubles player as a junior and senior while serving as the team captain.

A native of Hillsborough, Calif., Burns also serves as private tennis instructor and has coached numerous players on the Satellite and Futures Circuit.