Ron Burton | Tulsa University

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Team: Tulsa University
Organization: NCAA Football
Position: Assoc. Head Coach/DL
Hometown: Highland Springs, Virginia


Ron Burton was appointed as The University of Tulsa’s associate head coach and defensive line coach in January 2023.
A 31-year coaching veteran, Burton was twice named the National Defensive Line Coach of the Year by FootballScoop and coached in a bowl game 14 of the past 16 seasons before coming to Tulsa. Before entering the coaching ranks, Burton spent four seasons in the NFL after playing collegiately at North Carolina, where he and Tulsa head coach Kevin Wilson were teammates.
Burton spent the 2022 season coaching the defensive line at Miami, Ohio, helping the RedHawks to a six-win season and an appearance in the Bahamas Bowl. Burton’s defensive line was instrumental in leading Miami to the Mid-American Conference’s top rushing and scoring defense, allowing only 136 yards and 22.6 points per game.
Before that, Burton spent nine seasons coaching the defensive line at Michigan State. He coached in seven bowls with the Spartans –– 2013 Rose, 2014 Cotton, 2015 CFP Semifinal, 2017 Holiday, 2018 Redbox, 2019 Pinstripe and 2021 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.
Burton is the only coach to win the FootballScoop National Defensive Line Coach of the Year Award twice, an honor he won for the second time in 2018 after MSU finished with the top-ranked rushing defense in the country. He initially won the award during his first season in East Lansing in 2013 when the Spartans claimed the Big Ten Championship, won the Rose Bowl, and finished No. 2 in the FBS for total defense and rushing defense.

In Burton’s tenure, the Spartans led the Big Ten in rushing defense four times (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018) and ranked among the NCAA FBS Top 25 seven of his nine seasons, including twice at No. 1 (2014 and 2018).
Under his tutelage, Spartan defensive linemen earned All-Big Ten recognition 17 times, including three-time first-team selection Shilique Calhoun, who became the first defensive end in program history to be named first-team all-conference three times. Five of Burton’s defensive linemen moved onto the NFL.
Previously, Burton spent 10 seasons (2003-12) as the defensive line coach at the Air Force Academy. During his tenure, Burton helped the Falcons to a combined record of 67-57 (.540), including a school-record six consecutive bowl appearances (2007-12).

Before arriving at Air Force, Burton spent one season (2002) at Grand Valley State, where he helped lead the Lakers to a perfect 14-0 record and the 2002 NCAA Division II National Championship, the first in school history.

Burton spent five seasons as the linebackers coach at Indiana from 1997-2001 and before that coached linebackers at Eastern Michigan for two seasons (1995-96). He landed his first full-time coaching position as the defensive backs coach at Morehead State in 1994.

A four-year letterman (1982-86) at North Carolina, Burton helped the Tar Heels to three bowl appearances and was named team captain and best defensive lineman as a senior. He graduated from UNC with a bachelor's degree in industrial relations in 1987.

Burton’s four seasons as a linebacker in the NFL came with the Dallas Cowboys (1987-89), Phoenix Cardinals (1989) and Los Angeles Raiders (1990). After his NFL career, Burton returned to North Carolina and spent two years (1992-93) as a graduate assistant coach for the Tar Heels.

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Burton and his wife, Andrea, have four children: Ronald, Ryan, Roya and Reid.
Alma Mater: North Carolina ‘87
Hometown: Highland Springs, Va.
Playing Experience: Was a four-year letterman at defensive end at North Carolina
Bowl Games as a Player
1982   Sun Bowl (North Carolina)
1983   Peach Bowl (North Carolina)
1986   Aloha Bowl (North Carolina)
Bowl Games as a Coach
1992   Peach Bowl (North Carolina)
1993   Gator Bowl (North Carolina)
2007   Armed Forces Bowl (Air Force)
2008    Armed Forces Bowl (Air Force)
2009    Armed Forces Bowl (Air Force)
2010    Independence Bowl (Air Force)
2011   Military Bowl (Air Force)
2012   Armed Forces Bowl (Air Force)
2013   Rose Bowl (Michigan State)
2014   Cotton Bowl (Michigan State)
2015   Cotton Bowl (Michigan State)
2017   Holiday Bowl (Michigan State)
2018   Redbox Bowl (Michigan State)
2019   Pinstripe Bowl (Michigan State)
2021   Peach Bowl (Michigan State)
2022   Bahamas Bowl (Miami-Ohio) 

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