Matt Burns is set to begin his third season as an assistant coach on the Bucknell softball staff. He joined the Bison after spending the previous two seasons at Skidmore College. Since his arrival in Lewisburg in 2017, Bucknell has gone 27-8 in the league play and locked up back-to-back berths in the Patriot League tournament.
Burns serves as the program’s recruiting coordinator and instructs the hitters and catchers.
Bucknell finished the 2019 season ranked first in slugging and on base percentage, and second in both batting average and RBIs among Patriot League teams. After breaking the school home run record in 2018, the Bison homered 27 more times in Burns’ second season and recorded the fifth-most hits in program history (387).
Four Bison batted above .300 in 2019, including league-leader and Rookie of the Year Allyse Volpe. Volpe hit .399 and led the team with 57 hits. Meanwhile, three other Bison notched seven home runs apiece.
For a second straight season, Bucknell’s hitters continued to do damage to the program’s record books, as Taylor Wolfgang batted in the third most runs in team history (41) and the second-most doubles (18).
In Burns's first season at Bucknell, the Bison hit 36 home runs, smashing the previous school record of 28 set in 2009. The 2018 team also finished with the third most RBIs in program history with 208, the third most walks (138), fourth most doubles (71), fourth most runs scored (230), and fourth most wins (27).
The record-breaking season was a team effort, but a pair of sluggers led the charge. Meghan Kovac hit a school-record 13 home runs, while Lauren Hadley hit nine to also beat the previous record of eight in a season. Both players were voted to the All-Patriot League Team at the end of the regular season.
The high-powered offense played a pivotal role in the 2018 team getting back to the Patriot League Tournament as the No. 2 seed after missing postseason play the previous season.
After spending four years coaching collegiate baseball, Burns made the switch to softball with is two seasons as the assistant at Skidmore. In his first season with the Thoroughbreds in 2016, the team won 18 games, a four-win improvement from the previous season, and went on to finish as the runner-up in the Liberty League Tournament, just missing the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The team improved to 19 victories in 2017 and again qualified for the Liberty League Tournament.
In two seasons at Skidmore, Burns helped guide five players to All-Liberty League honors. Four players were voted to the NFCA All-Northeast Team, and one earned NFCA All-America recognition.
Prior to Skidmore, Burns spent one season as a volunteer assistant coach on the last baseball team at Akron – the program is set to be reinstated in 2020. He also had baseball coaching stops at SUNY New Paltz and Bard. Additionally, he spent a summer on the staff of the Watertown Wizards in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.
Burns earned a combined B.A./M.S. for Teachers from Plattsburgh State in 2011. He was a four-year letterwinner on the Cardinals baseball team and played on the program’s first nationally-ranked team in 2010.