Basketball more than a game for UNCW interim head coach Rob Burke

Published: Jan. 23, 2020 at 11:37 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - UNCW men’s basketball interim head coach Rob Burke is the son of legendary basketball coach Bob Burke, who won 419 games at Chowan.

Rob’s favorite memories growing up didn’t necessarily come after one of his father’s wins.

“My dad got so worked up at a game at Mt. Olive that he left me there,” said Rob Burke. “I didn’t get back on the van with them, I was in the gym shooting around. I had to stay at coach Clingan’s house. My mom almost divorced my dad.”

Despite growing up a coach’s son, he didn’t want to get into coaching until his playing days were over.

After being an assistant coach for year, he finally landed his first head coaching job at Spartanburg Methodist. Soon after taking the job, he learned he didn’t have all the answers.

“I wanted to make my own path,” Rob said. “Then I realized that I was in trouble and I needed some serious help. Because one of the things about moving over those 18 inches is that it’s a long 18 inches. We all have the answers sitting as an assistant coach, and I didn’t have a lot of answers.”

Rob has leaned on his dad for advice daily, but this past Saturday after the Seahawks ended an 11 game losing streak with a win over Northeastern, he FaceTimed him.

“I wanted to eyeball him and say thank you,” said Rob. “Because none of this stuff I am going through, our team is going through, I can’t do it without his support. We argue, we fuss. I get ticked off at him and he gets ticked off at me because I won’t do certain things. But it’s a friendship, it’s a love and he’s my personal assistant coach in just my life and helping me.”

Burke has quickly endeared himself to the Seahawk fans with his high energy on the sidelines. “In my mind I want to play the game,” said Burke. “So, as I am watching the game going up and down I want to be in there. I miss that, I miss getting in a defensive stance. I miss arm checking a guy. So, when you see me doing some of those things I am playing the game in my mind and visualizing as a point guard how I played the game.”

UNCW next game on the court will be Saturday when they travel to face the College of Charleston at 4 p.m.

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