Northern Illinois hires one of college basketball’s coveted assistant coaches, Rashon Burno to head Men’s Program

Rashon Burno (Arizona State photo)

March 6, 2021

DePaul Alum, Arizona State Assistant is 29th Man to Lead Huskie Program

DeKALB, Ill. – Rashon Burno, who has spent the last six seasons at Arizona State, including the last five as associate head coach, was announced as the new Northern Illinois University men’s basketball head coach by NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Sean T. Frazier on Saturday (March 6). 

Burno will be formally introduced at a virtual press conference on Monday, March 8. 

“What a great day for NIU Men’s Basketball,” said Frazier. “When we started this process, it was about the right fit and matching up with our core values at NIU. Rashon Burno brings significant experience within Illinois, Chicagoland and other basketball powerhouse regions. This is vital in growing the NIU basketball brand.  

“I am extremely excited by his level of professionalism and overall basketball pedigree. He has matured quickly in the coaching circles and we feel that his time is now to take NIU men’s basketball to the next level. We are extremely appreciative of the hard work put in by the search committee during our hiring process.”

NIU President Dr. Lisa Freeman echoed Frazier’s excitement for a new era in Huskie men’s basketball. 

“It’s my pleasure to welcome Rashon Burno and his family to Northern Illinois University as the new head coach of the Huskie men’s basketball program,” said Freeman. “His proven record of success at the highest levels of college basketball, and commitment to the athletic, academic and social development of his student-athletes all make him a great choice for NIU. I’m excited for the future of NIU men’s basketball under his leadership.”

The 43-year-old Burno was named one of The Athletic’s 25 Next Head Coaches in November 2020 and was also ranked as the third-best assistant coach in the Pac-12 by Stadium’s Jeff Goodman in July 2020. He was also on Silver Waves Media’s 50 Impactful High Major Assistant Coaches list in April 2020. 

“I am extremely excited about this opportunity,” Burno said. “Going through the process and having a chance to meet with Sean (Frazier), (Senior Associate Athletic Director and Men’s Basketball Sport AD) Courtney (Vinson), President Freeman and the Board of Trustees made it that much more desirable for me. I believe I am aligned with what their vision is for the future, not only for men’s basketball but also for the entire student body. I was very impressed with the overall vision and that made it easy for me to want to be at NIU.”

In six seasons at Arizona State, Burno has helped the Sun Devils to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances as ASU played in the First Four in 2018 and the First Round in 2019. Arizona State had 20 wins and was on track for its third-straight tournament appearance in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season. Three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances would have been a first for the Sun Devils in 60 seasons. 

During Burno’s time in Tempe, the Sun Devils matched the highest ranking in program history as they ascended to number three in the AP Poll for two consecutive weeks in December 2017. Arizona State won 20 games in 2017-18, 23 games in 2018-19 and 20 games in 2019-20, marking just the third time in program history that the Sun Devils posted three-straight 20-win seasons. 

Burno has helped mentor eight all-conference honorees over his six seasons at Arizona State, including first team recipients Tra Holder (2018), Zylan Cheatham (2019) and Remy Martin (2020). Luguentz Dort was named the 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year while Martin and Alonzo Verge Jr. earned Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year honors in 2018 and 2020, respectively. 

Prior to his time at Arizona State, Burno was an assistant coach for three seasons at the University of Florida under current Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan, helping the Gators reach the Final Four in 2014 and the Elite Eight in 2013. Burno and the Gators won SEC regular season titles in both 2012-13 and 2013-14, posting a perfect 18-0 conference mark in 2013-14 while also winning the conference tournament that season. Burno helped develop All-SEC guards Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and Scottie Wilbekin, who became the first Gator guard to win SEC Player of the Year honors in 2014. 

Burno was an assistant coach at Manhattan College in 2011-12, working under head coach Steve Masiello as the Jaspers won 21 games, a 15-win turnaround from the prior year. Burno began his collegiate coaching career at Towson in 2010-11, where he reunited with his college head coach, Pat Kennedy. 

Before joining the collegiate coaching ranks, Burno was the head coach at Marmion Academy in Aurora, Illinois, from 2007-10.

As a player, Burno earned 58 starts in four seasons at DePaul (1998-2002), helping the Blue Demons to the NCAA Tournament in 2001 and the NIT in 2000. He was named to the 2001 Conference USA All-Tournament Team and still ranks third in DePaul history in steals (201) and sixth in assists (439). 

Burno attended St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City, N.J., and played for Basketball Hall of Fame head coach Bob Hurley Sr., winning high school national championships in 1996 and 1997. He was an executive producer for the 2010 documentary, “The Street Stops Here,” which chronicled Hurley and his St. Anthony’s program. 

COURTESY NORTHERN ILLINOIS ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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