Greg Burke

Richland coach Greg Burke talks to his players during a Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference game against Westmont Hilltop, in Johnstown, PA., Friday, Jan.3, 2020.

After a decade of success, including three District 6 crowns, one Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference title and a memorable trip to the 2018 state championship game, Greg Burke has resigned as head coach of the Richland High School boys basketball program.

Burke submitted his resignation letter earlier this week and Rams Athletic Director Bonnie Kidd confirmed that he stepped down on Thursday.

“I was very blessed and lucky to coach at Richland,” said Burke, whose Rams went 160-94 since he took the job in 2010-11. “The last 10 years we’ve been able to build a program that was able to compete in the Laurel Highlands and District 6, and also at the state level."

Richland won the District 6 Class AA crown in 2014, the first time the boys program took district gold since 1975.

“The support I’ve had from athletic directors Fred Yanity and Bonnie Kidd, the administration and school board, thanks to them for supporting our program,” Burke said. “They got behind what we did on a yearly basis to try to make Richland a top-tier program. I want to thank my assistant coaches and the players for all their hard work.”

Richland had extraordinary success the past four years, winning 87 games in that span while appearing in four consecutive District 6 title games and winning gold in Class AAA the past two seasons. Burke’s son, Caleb, was the starting point guard who scored 1,463 points and had a school-record 792 assists during that stretch.

Richland was 19-7 this past season and had advanced to the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinal round of the playoffs when the season was ended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Rams went 22-7 in 2018-19, winning a 6-AAA title. The previous season in 2017-18 Richland advanced to the state championship game at the Giant Center in Hershey before falling to powerhouse Neumann-Goretti.

The Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State selection panel named Burke as Coach of the Year in the boys Class AAA field that season.

“Over 10 years, Greg has built the Richland boys basketball program into one that is recognized across the state,” said Richland’s Kidd. “The culture is one of winning and success. Winning has not been more important than cultivating a team with each athlete as the focus.

“His passion for the sport is beyond comparison, but more importantly than that, he has helped to mold many young teenage boys into incredible young men,” Kidd said. “The memories are countless, but the state run to Hershey in 2018 is my favorite and something I will never forget.”

Kidd said Richland will begin a search for the Rams’ next boys coach.

“Greg has set a high standard for his successor,” she said. “The position will be advertised in the coming days.”

Burke said he intends to spend more time with his family. He is looking forward to watching his daughter, Bella, play her junior season on the Richland girls basketball team. Son Caleb will play NCAA Division I football at the University of New Hampshire.

“Things have changed now that Caleb has graduated. He’s on a full Division I football scholarship, which is a blessing,” Greg Burke said. “My daughter, Bella, is going to be a junior. She hasn’t had a lot of my time other than my trying to coach her in travel ball and AAU. In the last year I think I only was able to attend seven of her 23 games.

“It really has taken away from my daughter over these years but it’s benefitted my son because we were together,” said Burke, who added that coaching varsity basketball again is not in his immediate future. “I want Bella to enjoy her last two years at Richland and I want to be there and be a dad for her. I want to focus on her because she deserves it.” 

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.

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