Miami RedHawks Football News: Ron Burton Named Defensive Line Coach

Miami University head football coach Chuck Martin has announced the addition of Ron Burton to his staff. Burton will coach the defensive line.

Burton, a 30-year coaching veteran who also played four seasons in the NFL, is in his spent the last nine seasons on the defensive staff at Michigan State. He has coached in a bowl game 13 of the past 15 seasons, including seven bowls with the Spartans (2014 Rose, 2015 Cotton, 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinal, 2017 Holiday, 2018 Redbox, 2019 Pinstripe, 2021 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl). 

Burton went back to coaching the entire defensive line in 2020 after previously coaching the defensive tackles for three seasons (2017-19). Burton spent his first four seasons in East Lansing (2013-16) coaching the defensive line. 

Burton is the only coach to win the FootballScoop National Defensive Line Coach of the Year Award twice, an honor he won for the second time in 2018 after MSU finished with the top-ranked rushing defense in the country. He also won the award during his first season in East Lansing in 2013 when the Spartans claimed the Big Ten Championship, won the Rose Bowl, and finished No. 2 in the FBS in total defense and rushing defense.

Since Burton’s first year in 2013, the Spartans have led the Big Ten in rushing defense four times (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018) and have ranked in the NCAA FBS Top 25 seven of his nine seasons, including twice at No. 1 (2014 and 2018).

During his nine seasons on the Michigan State staff, Spartan defensive linemen have earned All-Big Ten recognition 17 times, including three-time first-team selection Shilique Calhoun, who became the first defensive end in program history to be named first-team all-conference three times. Five Spartan defensive linemen that Burton has coached at MSU have played in the NFL (Calhoun, Joel Heath, Marcus Rush, Lawrence Thomas, Williams). Two Spartans have been drafted under Burton’s watch (Calhoun in third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Raiders, Malik McDowell in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Seahawks) and six have been invited to the NFL Combine.

Burton previously spent 10 seasons (2003-12) as the defensive line coach at Air Force. During his tenure, Burton helped the Falcons to a combined record of 67-57 (.540), including a school-record six consecutive bowl appearances (2007-12), while developing some of the top defensive linemen in school history. Burton also served as the program’s NFL liaison.

Before arriving at Air Force, Burton spent one season (2002) at Grand Valley State and helped lead the Lakers to a perfect 14-0 record and the 2002 NCAA Division II National Championship, the first in school history.

Burton had previous Big Ten coaching experience prior to coaching at MSU, as he spent five seasons as the linebackers coach at Indiana from 1997-2001. Burton mentored two Butkus Award nominees, Jabar Robinson and Justin Smith, during his time with the Hoosiers. Robinson led the team in tackles two straight years and is eighth in school history with 339 career tackles, while Smith played one season (2003) in the NFL and ranks ninth in IU history with 326 tackles.

Burton also coached linebackers at Eastern Michigan for two seasons (1995-96) and landed his first full-time coaching position as the defensive backs coach at Morehead State (1994).

A four-year letterman (1982-86) at North Carolina, Burton helped the Tar Heels to three bowl appearances during his career and was named team captain and best defensive lineman as a senior. He graduated from UNC with a bachelor’s degree in industrial relations in 1987.

Following graduation, Burton spent four seasons playing linebacker in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys (1987-89), Phoenix Cardinals (1989) and Los Angeles Raiders (1990). Burton started 15 games for the Cowboys in 1988 and recorded two sacks, and played on the 1990 Raiders team that advanced to the 1990 AFC Championship Game.

After his NFL career, Burton returned to North Carolina and spent two years as a graduate assistant (1992-93) for the Tar Heels.

Burton was an all-state selection as a linebacker at Highland Springs (Va.) High School.

A native of Highland Springs, Virginia, Burton and his wife, Andrea, have four children: Ronald, Ryan, Roya and Reid.