Dave Burroughs announces retirement

Legendary coach Dave Burroughs announced his retirement Wednesday after guiding the Cowley College baseball team to 1,301 wins and two Juco World Series titles.

Dave Burroughs has announced his retirement as head coach of the Cowley College baseball program after 32 seasons in the dugout.

The legendary coach will retire with 1,301 wins and two World Series titles.

Burroughs had been thinking of retiring for a while now and thought this was the right time to do so.

“It was a heck of a ride,” Burroughs said. “I have had an opportunity to work with a lot of people that make Cowley special.”

Taking over a program that had suffered 12 straight losing seasons, it did not take long for Burroughs to work his magic. 

In just his second year in charge he helped the 1990 Tigers to win a then school-record 29 games. He later led the Tigers to a share of their first-ever Jayhawk East title during the 1993 season before guiding Cowley to eight straight conference titles (1995-2002) and back-to-back World Series titles in 1997 and 1998.

Former Cowley president Dr. Patrick J. McAtee was hired around the same time as Burroughs.

“Dave was a transformational leader,” McAtee said. “He took the program from nothing to World Series champs, which was quite a feat. Winning those world series titles was some of the fondest memories of my presidency.

“Dave is a wonderful person, a family man, and shares his legacy with his brother (Lefty). I have mixed feelings about his retirement because Cowley is losing a great coach, but I am also happy for Dave.”

With his brother Darren (Lefty) by his side, Burroughs led the Tigers to 19 Jayhawk East titles in the past 25 seasons, and nine trips to the Junior College World Series, including three of the past four seasons.

He was named the Jayhawk East coach of the Year in 2019, continuing a stretch of eight such honors in the past 13 years.

Former athletic director Tom Saia considers Dave and Darren two of his closest friends.

“They took me on one heck of a ride,” Saia said. “I have been through a lot in my 40-plus years of athletics, but going to Grand Junction (Colo.) and winning the World Series is one of my favorite sports memories. I love Dave to death and am blessed to have been a piece of the puzzle. Along with his success, he taught numerous young players life lessons and how to become a man.”

The Ketchum, Okla., native guided the Tigers to nine of the past 13 Jayhawk East titles and won at least 33 games in each of the past 27 years, including a school record-tying 54 wins during the 2015 season.

He had more than 200 players taken in the Major League draft and coached more than 20 players who received All-American honors and numerous players who have been named All-Conference, All-Region and Academic All-American.

One of those individuals is former player Travis Hafner, who spent 12 seasons in the major leagues and belted 213 career home runs.

“Coach Dave has had one of the best coaching careers in college baseball,” Hafner said. “His accomplishments speak for themselves. But he’s an even better man. I have been blessed to have Coach Dave in my life and thankful for the impact he’s had on myself and so many others. He’s made us better ballplayers and more importantly better men.

“Congratulations on your retirement and an amazing career and thank you for everything you’ve done for me and the ballplayers who have been fortunate enough to have played for you.”

Burroughs was inducted into the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010, the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 and NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2018. 

“Dave has been a leader within our department and the college. Cowley is losing one of its patriarch employees,” Cowley athletic director Shane Larson said. “It has been a privilege of mine to work with Dave during my six years here at Cowley. I want to thank Dave for his commitment to Tiger Athletics and for his leadership within the department and all he has done for the countless student athletes he has had an opportunity to impact during his years here as our baseball coach.”

Burroughs was sure to credit the people he has been associated with for his success.

“From Tom (Saia), Dr. Pat (McAtee), the administration, players, coaches, fans, boosters — everyone had a hand in our success,” Burroughs said. “I am proud to have been a part of it. I can’t thank everyone enough; it has been a blast.”

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