Burcham, head coach of Trigg County High School’s football team for the past four years, stepped down Monday after he was named the school’s new principal.
Calling Burcham a successful football coach is easy. As leader of the Wildcats, Burcham amassed an overall record of 26-22, but more important than the record and the district titles and postseason appearances are the student-athletes he helped to college opportunities through the gridiron.
For any doubters, that should have been the first evidence that he is more concerned for a student’s grades than his 40-yard-dash time.
Burcham has also served as a math teacher at TCHS, and by all accounts, he succeeded in that role as well as he did as a football coach.
And he’s already done his own math on how his new job will differ from his old ones – where he previously led different handfuls of students at a time, he’ll now be responsible for about 650 students at the same time every day.
In the end, it may be more difficult to replace what he brought to the table in the classroom than to find a competent football coach.
“I’ve coached for 20 years,” Burcham said. “That’s what got me into education. I love every minute that I’m in the classroom. I love seeing kids be successful, not just our football players or any other athlete, but all of our kids. That makes it easier, taking a job that allows me to impact every kid, not just the ones I work with individually.”
Burcham said he expects to remain close to every athletic program at TCHS, including the football team, which just returned from the dead period. Burcham said he and superintendent Travis Hamby would discuss finding a new coach early this week.
“I believe in the power of athletics to help kids get through school and to other places,” Burcham said. “The football team has 70-some-odd kids this year and a lot of potential. I think they can continue to move in the right direction, even without me, because of the kids we have.”
In the end, Burcham cares about the youth of Trigg County. He’s served them well in the classroom and in competitive athletics. Now, he’ll help them from a higher position, and I think they’ll benefit from it.
As the primary sports reporter for The Cadiz Record, I’ll miss seeing Burcham roam the sidelines on Friday nights.
However, as general manager of The Cadiz Record, I’m relieved to know that I’ll have someone like Burcham at the TCHS office, and I trust he’ll find someone to push Trigg’s football players in the right direction on the field and in the classroom while also guiding the entire student body.
Justin McGill is general manager of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.