STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - Brian Burg earned his first job in basketball by writing letters, begging junior college coaches for a chance.
Seventeen years later, he stood in Statesboro as the new head men’s basketball coach.
“I’ve worked my whole life for this opportunity," Burg said in his introductory press conference Friday. “We’re going to have fun. We’re going to win, and we’re going to do it the right way.”
Burg noted how different the circumstances of his hire were, considering the coronavirus pandemic currently keeping the nation at a halt.
But he added how excited he was to be in Statesboro, taking over a program he calls a “hidden gem.”
“Georgia Southern’s going to be a winner. We’re going to compete for championships, year in and year out,” Burg says. “We’re going to play meaningful games in March.”
If “meaningful games in March” is code for NCAA Tournament games, Burg takes over a program that has seen nearly 30 years pass since one of those. The Eagles’ last March Madness appearance came in 1992.
But he plans to change that, leading the Eagles the only way he knows how.
"Having no entitlement in your program. Having an unselfish culture. And then having a relentless work ethic,” Burg says. “Every place I’ve been, I’ve been doubted. How do you achieve those goals? You work every single day. You have a plan and you execute that plan day after day.”
Burg comes to Statesboro after four seasons as an assistant to Chris Beard at Texas Tech, helping lead the Red Raiders to the NCAA Title Game in 2019. He also spent time on Beard’s staff at Georgia Southern’s Sun Belt rival Little Rock.
Burg says during his time with the Trojans, he considered Hanner Fieldhouse the toughest place to play in the conference. He plans to keep it that way during his tenure.
“I think Hanner is a gold mine. You can win big time games here. Hanner’s going to be packed,” he says. “I vividly remember walking across the court and realizing how tough Hanner is as a place to play whenever we were at Little Rock. And we had a good team.”
Burg’s first task is to build the relationships with current Eagle players, including starting guards Quan Jackson and Calvin Wishart. Both entered the transfer portal this week, though neither ruled out a return to Statesboro.