With Burrows gone, MHS searching for next great coach


The hunt is on for Maricopa High School’s next girls’ basketball coach.

“I’m hoping that within the next two weeks we can compile a list and start interviewing not only coaching applicants but teaching applicants,” MHS Athletic Director Mark Cisterna said.

Kati Burrows, who led MHS to its first state championship, has now officially been announced as an assistant at Montana State University.

MSU women’s head basketball coach Tricia Binford said Burrows will oversee post players for the Division I Bobcats next season.

“She’s a go-getter and a grinder, and that’s big when you’re developing the players as a team,” Binford said.

The Bobcat summer camp starts next week. MSU had a .500 record last year and lost in the first round of the Big Sky Conference Tournament.

Binford said it is a benefit that Burrows is a former Bobcat “who’s been there and set a great example.”

Cisterna said Burrows told him of her decision last week. It was not entirely a surprise. Even before the end of the school year, other high schools like Dobson and Mountain Pointe had expressed interest.

Cisterna said he and Burrows had a long talk at the end of the basketball season, when other schools were already expressing interest in the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association’s Division II Coach of the Year. He had asked her about her dream job, and Burrows had told him she was happy with her situation at MHS and was excited about the future of the program.

Cisterna said he was feeling pretty good until the end of the school year. Then a Division I university came knocking.

“She told me, ‘Remember that dream job?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And she said, ‘This is it,’” Cisterna said. “And sure enough, it was the very next week that their head coach called me. And she said they were down to two candidates for the job.”

He said he understood the draw for Burrows to her alma mater and her hometown.

“As sad as it is to lose someone of that quality – and she not only was a good coach, she was a good teacher and a great mentor to those kids, she held them accountable – you have to be happy for her just for the person she is,” he said. “She’s going on to something she wants to do, and she’ll be really good at it.”

June can be a difficult time to hire quality staff at a school. Most prospects have already landed other jobs. Cisterna put out the word as soon as the district was notified of Burrows’ resignation. Applications and other signs of interest have come forward.

Burrows was also a physical education teacher, but the coaching job is not tied to that position.

Meanwhile, the girls’ team members are in summer league play and also have camp this week. With Burrows gone, freshman coach Craig Shorey also gone (taking a head coaching job at Apache Junction), and assistant coach Melvin Mitchell out of state, the girls have had a teacher, a former assistant coach, and a player parent step in to help out.

“Minus Kati, they’re going full-speed ahead,” Cisterna said.

Cisterna sees a strong team returning for the Maricopa Rams, whoever the new coach turns out to be. Despite losing some talented seniors, there are great players who are already established starters and talent coming up from younger classes and middle school.

“The cupboard’s not bare,” he said.

***ADVERTISEMENT***A system that was built by Jenn Miller and pushed to the next level by Burrows has high expectations. Cisterna said the team fits the cliché, “We’re not rebuilding; we’re reloading.”

Burrows’ one year at MHS was her only experience as head coach. She had been an assistant at two other high schools. Binford said in talking to Burrows’ supporters, it became clear that limited experience was only lack of opportunity.

“When she had the opportunity, she showed what she can do,” Binford said.