MANHATTAN, Kan. – Former Kansas state assistant Stew Burke, a championship-winning coach who has led Tulane the last four seasons, has been named head coach for the K-State women’s golf program, athletics director Gene Taylor announced today.
Burke has agreed to a five-year contract with his hiring contingent upon a successful background check.
“We are excited to welcome Stew back to Manhattan to lead our women’s golf team,” Taylor said. “This job attracted strong interest from all over the country, which speaks to the culture that we have here at K-State. Stew has had unbelievable success both as an assistant coach and as a head coach, he is one of the top recruiters in the country and has a tremendous track record of developing players.
“His familiarity with our program, the University and community, in addition to the relationships he has already established in the local golf community, will lead to a smooth transition as he takes over our program,” Taylor said. “We look forward to having Stew, Lucy and Effie as a part of the K-State family.”
Burke, who was the 2022 American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year at Tulane, originally joined K-State in the spring of 2014 and worked in Manhattan through the fall of 2016. He then served parts of three seasons as the associate head coach at USC before taking over the Tulane program in the fall of 2019.
“I am honored to be the next head women’s golf coach at K-State,” Burke said. “I’d like to thank Gene Taylor for this incredible opportunity and Kristi Knight for her support throughout my career. She allowed me to see how special K-State is and played a pivotal role in my development as a collegiate coach. I’d also like to thank Troy Dannen for giving me my first head coaching opportunity.
“This has been a dream of mine, and there is nowhere I’d rather be. This program has the potential to be a perennial postseason contender, and I believe we can get back to regionals quickly. I am excited to work with the returning players and to start recruiting with the Powercat on my chest.”
During his tenure at Tulane, Burke improved the Green Waves’ national Golfstat ranking more than 50 spots as he took over a program that ranked No. 113 the year prior to his arrival to a No. 62 mark this past season.
Burke was named the AAC Coach of the Year in 2022 after leading the Green Wave to the school’s first conference championship in eight years to earn a berth into the NCAA Stillwater Regional. Three of his players that season – Carla Bernat, Sandra Vazquez and Cleo Liu – were named All-AAC. The team’s success that season was born out of disaster and resolve as the team was displaced to Birmingham, Alabama, for five weeks in the fall of 2021 due to Hurricane Ida.
This past season, Burke tutored Bernat to AAC Women’s Golfer of the Year, First Team All-AAC and Second Team All-America honors. She earned an individual bid into the 2023 NCAA Athens Regional in addition to competing for Team International in the 27th annual Arnold Palmer Cup earlier this month. Bernat finished 21st in the Golfstat rankings, the fourth-highest ranked player from a non-Power 5 school.
While at K-State as an assistant, Burke helped raise the Wildcats’ Golfstat ranking from No. 105 into the top 40 as they tallied three team victories and four individual crowns. K-State also posted its top two stroke average marks in school history with Burke on staff with the 2014-15 squad setting the record at 297.30 followed closely by the 2015-16 team at 297.31.
Burke helped guide Madison Talley to consecutive individual postseason appearances, including the 2016 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional when she tied for 12th. Burke was also instrumental in helping build a squad that made the NCAA Athens Regional in 2017 after his departure to USC.
Talley set K-State’s single-season stroke average record at 73.78 in 2014-15 which was eventually broken by Connie Jaffrey, who spent the first part of her career learning under Burke. Jaffrey set the school record with a 72.85 stroke average during her senior campaign of 2017-18, and she also holds the school’s career stroke average record at 74.13.
Burke left K-State in the spring of 2017 to serve as the assistant coach and later the associate head coach at USC. During his tenure in Los Angeles, Burke helped guide the Trojans to consecutive appearances in the NCAA Championship Semifinals (2017 and 2018) followed by a trip to the Quarterfinals (2019).
With Burke on staff, the Trojans captured 14 team victories and posted an impressive mark of 18 consecutive finishes in the top three from the spring of 2018 to the spring of 2019. During the 2018-19 season, the Trojans were ranked as the nation’s top team in both the Golfstat and Golfweek rankings on their way to a 2019 Pac-12 Championship and an NCAA West Regional team title. In total, Burke coached players that combined for eight First Team All-Pac-12 and 10 All-America accolades.
Prior to his time at K-State, Burke worked three years as the Director of Recruitment at United Sports USA, a company that assists NCAA Division I coaches of all sports with recruiting the top student-athletes from the United Kingdom and Europe. A partner who helped set up United Sports USA, Burke previously worked at a similar organization called First Point USA Sport Scholarship Consultants.
Burke played collegiately at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, where he graduated with a degree in sports management in 2007. He obtained a master’s degree in educational, school and counseling psychology with an emphasis in positive coaching from the University of Missouri in 2019, and he is working on another master’s degree in sports studies.
Burke and his wife, Lucy, have one daughter, Effie.