Men’s basketball announces head coach


Courtesy NIU Athletics

Rashon Burno holds an NIU men’s basketball jersey March 8, with the NIU Convocation Center’s court below him in DeKalb. NIU introduced Burno as the new men’s basketball head coach Monday.

By James Krause

DeKALB — Arizona State University associate head coach and former DePaul University guard Rashon Burno was named the NIU men’s basketball head coach Saturday.

The position will be 43-year-old Burno’s first head coaching gig in 11 seasons of collegiate coaching, including the past six with ASU. In a Saturday NIU Athletics news release, Burno expressed gratitude for the chance to take the reins of the program.

“I am extremely excited about this opportunity,” Burno said in the release. “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.”

Burno was a four-year letterman guard at DePaul, helping the Blue Devils to an NCAA tournament appearance in 2001. Burno’s first head coaching gig was with Marmion Academy in Aurora. 

Athletic Director Sean Frazier said Burno’s connection to the region will help grow NIU’s program and brand.

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

NIU President Lisa Freeman said she looks forward to what Burno means for NIU’s men’s basketball program.

“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,” Freeman said in the release. “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.”

Along with his playing career with Chicagoland, Burno spent three seasons at the University of Florida under the tutelage of current Chicago Bulls Head Coach Billy Donovan. The Florida Gators made two appearances in the NCAA tournament during Burno’s time, including a Final Four appearance in 2014.

“His greatest attribute is who he is as a person,” Donovan said in the release. “He’s a very good basketball coach. He’s very detailed. He’s an incredible worker. He played the game at a very high level so he knows the game really well and he can articulate the game to people. I think the players love him. He can talk to any kind of player.”

Burno has previously had coaching experience at Towson University and Manhattan University.

Burno takes over a program that went 3-16 overall this past season and cut ties to former Head Coach Mark Montgomery in January. Burno will be formally introduced Monday in a virtual news conference.