Burnett heads west
Published 6:58 pm Wednesday, August 17, 2011
In the end, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse. Matt Burnett, the man who appeared to stop the revolving door of Washington High School baseball coaches, is leaving to coach at Myers Park High School in Charlotte.
Burnett, who accepted the Washington position a year ago and led the Pam Pack to a 12-13 record and an appearance in the NCHSA 3A playoffs, maintained throughout the year that he was here for the long haul. However, when the opportunity arose to move closer to his family and coach at a larger 4A school, Burnett could not shake it off.
“There were really only a handful of jobs in the state of North Carolina that I really would have looked at to possibly leave for and Myers Park was one of them,” Burnett said. “I wasn’t actively looking for jobs, but when this opened I thought I’m at least going to give it a look.”
For Burnett, who came to Washington after coaching at Southern Lee, the job opportunity had a lot of attractive aspects.
“Obviously, the area is one of them. It’s a lot closer to my family and it’s a lot closer to my wife’s family,” Burnett said. “Plus, the fact that baseball in this conference (Southwestern 4A) is like the American League East of high school baseball. You have schools like Ardrey Kell who won the state championship two years ago, to Providence who won 27 games last year, to South Mecklenburg, which is traditionally powerful. There’s just so much good baseball in this conference. It’s just a big time job that any coach would have to look at closely.”
For Burnett, the transition moved quickly as he interviewed for the job on Monday, Aug. 1, and was offered the job that Wednesday.
“I heard from a friend of mine, another coach, that the job was open and their head coach decided to step down,” Burnett said. “So I said you know what, I have always eyeballed this job and thought it would be a heck-of-a situation. So I figured I’ll just throw my hat in the ring and see what happens.
“From that point forward it went so quickly. They called me almost immediately and had me in for an interview. By that Tuesday night I could tell that they were calling my references and Wednesday morning they called an offered the job. I went from interviewing Monday to being called and offered the job by Wednesday morning.”
Despite the speed of the transition, Burnett said he was able to contact a good portion of his players to say his farewell.
“I was able to get in touch with most of the guys on the team and most of them really wished me well,” Burnett said. “I really hated it because I’m leaving a lot of good kids behind. I’m leaving a program that I feel was really going in the right direction.”
Burnett’s son Isiah Taylor, who played on the Pam Pack varsity team as a freshman and stared on the JV basketball team, figured to be a part of helping the team head in the right direction and was not as excited about the move as his father.
“He was a little bummed, he’s still pretty bummed,” Burnett said. “He’s upset because he is leaving a lot of his friends. It’s still taking a little bit of salesmanship to get Isiah on board. … He’s a pretty resilient kid and I think he will be able to adjust rather quickly.”
Burnett said he was thankful for his time spent in Washington.
“I really enjoyed it, I really did. I was able to meet a lot of good people and I enjoyed getting to know the culture of baseball here and was glad to be a part of what’s a really good tradition of baseball here,” Burnett said.