Football Coach Mike Burnett will leave Broad Run for Tuscarora (Va.)

From Staff Reports
Thursday, January 14, 2010; D10

One month after leading Broad Run to its second straight undefeated season and Virginia AA Division 4 championship, Coach Mike Burnett said he will leave the Ashburn school to take a job as the social studies department chairman at Tuscarora, a new school in Leesburg set to open in the fall.

Burnett's bid to become the football coach at Tuscarora is still pending Loudoun County School Board approval.

"I can't imagine it's not going to come through," Burnett said.

Burnett, who lives in Leesburg with his wife and children, broke the news to his players Tuesday.

"It's excruciating," he said. "There's no words that can describe how difficult it is to leave these kids. Everything about football was and is great at Broad Run. That hasn't changed.

"The bottom line is I'm a teacher, I'm a coach, I'm a father, I'm a husband. My schedule right now is really putting a stress on all of those."

In four years as head coach of the Spartans, Burnett turned a 1-9 team into the top AA program in the state. Under Burnett, Broad Run compiled a 43-6 mark with three Dulles District titles and two state championships. The Spartans ended 2009 on a 28-game winning streak and have won 30 consecutive regular season contests.

Tuscarora will open its doors with a full varsity football schedule. The Huskies will compete at the AA Division 3 level and will play an independent schedule.

Broad Run Athletic Director Jack Kirby said he has received interest from several coaches within Loudoun County, and Burnett's departure could trigger a domino effect among coaches from several of the other programs in the county.

"We've already received quite a few phone calls from coaches who are interested in the position," Kirby said. "We will post the job opening on the school Web site as soon as this becomes official and then move forward from there."

FCPS may cut pool time

Swimming and diving could face a 50 percent cut in practice time under the newest proposed Fairfax County Public Schools budget.

According to the proposal presented by FCPS Superintendent Jack D. Dale, the reduction in practice time is just one of the cuts that also include the elimination of indoor track and all freshman sports.

According to Bill Curran, student activities and athletics director for Fairfax County, the cuts to swimming would save $100,000. It is a move, he said, that is necessary.

Curran said the county made strides to avoid cutting the sport altogether, and researched whether teams could still be effective with just two practices.

"It's hard," Curran said. "The budget is what it is, so everybody has some sort of impact on it. . . . This kept the program alive, which is a big part. Swimming and diving is very popular, so we didn't want to see any elimination of it. We didn't touch swim meets; the opportunity to compete is still there, which is important."

The impact of the decreased practice time may not affect many swimmers who compete at the club level. However, a drop from four to two practices a week for those who do not swim year-round would have a substantial impact, according to parents and coaches.

"If you're not swimming year round or swimming every day it's awfully hard to swim a competitive" race, said Betty Ann Dobrenz, an organizer with Save Our Sport, a group that has fought against swim cuts in Fairfax County in past years. "It's a pretty devastating blow to the sport."

Said Robinson Coach Clayton Joyner, whose teams are defending Virginia AAA boys' and girls' champions: "If it goes to 50 percent, that's going to cause problems because that's just not training at all, it's just somewhat staying in shape. They're in trouble, that's all there is to it."

Shue comes up big

Landon freshman Graham Shue -- all 5 feet 6 inches and 140 pounds of him -- was arguably the least likely to score a critical goal for the top-ranked Bears in Tuesday's Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League home game against No. 3 DeMatha at Rockville Ice Arena. Especially with bigger players crowding him in front of the net.

But Shue got free, took sophomore Matt Opsahl's pass from behind the net, and beat goalie Drew Weigman with 1 minute 22 seconds left in the third period, tying the game at 3. It ended that way when DeMatha failed to score on a power play in the game's final minute.

"It's definitely the biggest goal of my career," Shue, whose high school career is all of 12 games, said with a laugh.

DeMatha had taken a 3-2 lead with 2:14 to play when the fastest skater on the ice, University of New Hampshire-bound senior Casey Thrush, beat Landon goalie Connor Jones up high.

"There was a lot of hype about this game," said Shue, who also plays games at Rockville Ice Arena for the Montgomery Blue Devils. "When we got down 3-2, we never got down on ourselves. Everyone on the bench said, 'We've still got this.' "

Landon (8-2-2) outplayed DeMatha (13-11-5) over the first two periods and led 2-1 on goals by Opsahl and junior Sam Anas. DeMatha's score was sandwiched in between, with R.J. Thompson scoring off a long rebound.

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