A Long-Lasting Legacy In Loudoun County: Goodbye to Coach Michael Burnett

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By Kaitlyn Fletcher

Head football coach and social studies teacher Mr. Michael Burnett, who led the Huskies to two State Championships in 2014 and 2017, announced in January that he will be leaving Tuscarora and heading back home to California. Burnett will continue his coaching career and legacy at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles.

Before coaching at Tuscarora, Burnett accepted the head coach position at Broad Run in 2006. While in Ashburn, Burnett turned the Spartans’ football program around from a team with a 5-5 record, to two consecutive 14-0 undefeated seasons and State Championship titles in 2008 and 2009. “I wish I could say the championships are what I remember the most, but I actually remember the players and kids because they put in a lot of time and effort to turn that program around,” said Burnett.
In 2010, Burnett had the opportunity to come to Tuscarora and create a football program. “The opportunity to build a whole school culture is what drew me to Tuscarora. Also, having my best friends, Coach Fletcher and Coach Fortune come with me also drew me here. We had the opportunity to be in the same school together, work together, and coach together,” Burnett said with a reminiscent smile.

In his coaching career at Tuscarora, Burnett racked up 77 wins and led the Huskies to two appearances in the State Championship game. In 2015, Burnett was also awarded the prestigious Don Shula Coach of the Year award by the National Football League.
Off of the field, Burnett formed long-lasting relationships with his players, students, and fellow teachers. “I’m going to miss everything and everybody. I hope this program continues to be the kind of program that it is now; a program that has great young men who strive to compete for state championships,” said Burnett.

Moving forward, Burnett faces another challenge of rebuilding a football team. “We want to compete for championships out there. That always has to be our goal. At the same time, it’s to do that in a way where we produce good people. We want to be able to do both of those things,” said Burnett. He added, “We’re hoping we can bring some of our Friday Night Lights here at Tuscarora to Los Angeles.”

Burnett and his family are looking forward to returning home.“[California] is where we got married and where our children were born, so there were some really good memories there for our family. We also have a lot of close friends there so we’re excited to get back,” said Burnett.

Coach Burnett has one final message for Tuscarora and the community: “Thank you and I love you.”