Buffie Burson is in her 19th season as head coach of the University of North Georgia women's basketball team entering the 2012-13 season. She enters the season with a career coaching record of 381-202 - a .654 winning percentage - that has her averaging over 20 wins per season.
Over the years, Burson's forte has
been in judging raw talent. Among her recruits are four
Players-of-the-Year, eight Freshman-of-the-Year, numerous
All-Conference players and All-Academic players, 10 All-Americans
and six Academic All-Americans. Most importantly Burson's players
perpetually boast high team over-all GPA's. Five of her teams have
been named to the WBCA Academic Honor Roll, including the 2005-06
PBC Championship team which was honored by the WBCA for the
14th-best GPA in NCAA II with a 3.435 team average.
Throughout Burson’s career at North Georgia, her teams have won eight conference championships and made eight national tournament appearances, including three Elite Eight and two Sweet Sixteen finishes.
In the 2006-07 season, the Saints' second year in NCAA Division II, Burson recorded her 300th career coaching victory with an 82-55 win over Claflin University on December 30, 2006.
During the 2005-06 season, in her team’s first year of competition in the Peach Belt Conference and NCAA Division II, the team finished with a 19-1 record in conference play to win the PBC regular season championship.
The 2006 Peach Belt Championship
team helped Burson earn Peach Belt Conference Coach-of-the-Year
honors as well as the Atlanta Tip-off Club/Naismith Awards Georgia
Coach-of-the-Year. Burson is also a four-time Atlanta Tip-off
Club/Naismith Awards NAIA Coach-of-the-Year and three-time GACC
Throughout the seasons, Burson's teams have been characterized by their mental toughness. Buying into the belief that “Most battles are won before they are fought,” Burson developed DAWG Week, North Georgia's answer to the Army's Special Forces Training. Working closely with LTC Billy Shaw to implement “beast events” which simulate game-like stress situations, Burson puts her “ladies” through five days of grueling war-like basketball. She is often asked the secret in such training whereby she simply states it begins with the name itself. The initials in DAWG Week stand for Dedicated Athletes With Guts! “Their effort is a true testament to their character”, she says with pride.
Burson was born in St. Louis, MO where her father enjoyed a career in professional football. After receiving AS, BS & MA degrees from Truett-McConnell College and the University of Montevallo, Burson followed his footsteps into the coaching field. She began serving as a conference rater in 1998 and worked as an NAIA Rater at the national level, as well as being a member of the NAIA All-America Selection Committee, the WBCA Kodak All-America Selection Committee and the WBCA Scholarship Selection Committee. In 2007-08 Burson served as a member of the NCAA Regional Rankings Committee and was the Peach Belt Conference Captain for the WBCA.
In addition to Burson's coaching duties, she is an assistant professor in the HPE Department. Over the summer months, she is the Director of several girls' basketball camps along with the Team Camp of Champions, featuring some of the best high school varsity teams in the state. During the Fall, Burson's Lady Saints host THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF HOOPS, a free basketball clinic for elementary girls and boys, as a way of “giving back” to the community for their support of the team.
Although winning is exhilarating, Buffie Burson's favorite part of coaching is the Xs & Os. However, it is the imparting of “life lessons” that remain her passion. When asked what she hopes her graduates take with them from her program, she is reminded of basketball coaching legend, John Wooden's advice -- “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation; for your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” “If, through my example, that is the only thing they learn from me in four years,” states Burson, “I will feel that I have truly succeeded!”