Over the span of 28 seasons, Bob Burchard not only turned the men’s basketball program at Columbia College into a national powerhouse, but he has spearheaded the charge for the entire athletic department. After winning his 700th game earlier this month, the longtime Athletic Director and coach was honored on Wednesday.
The Southwell Complex arena court is now named, “Bob Burchard Court.”
Following the recognition of the court naming that afternoon, the Cougars took down Philander Smith College 97-90, giving Burchard his 703rd win against just 237 losses.
Columbia has averaged more than 25 victories a season under his guidance and has appeared at the NAIA National Championships 19 times. His total victories make him second in the state of Missouri for career wins. He also ranks third among all active NAIA men’s basketball coaches in wins and has done it in fewer years than anyone else. His players have been honored as all-conference, Scholar-Athletes and all-American too many times to mention.
He is a three-time Hall of Famer, an NABC Guardians of the Game Leadership Pillar Award winner, the NAIA Coach of the Year in 2009 and a nine-time AMC Coach of the year. He has also been crowned the AMC Athletic Director of the year seven times.
To illustrate the character and personality of Coach Burchard, I need to share a personal experience.
I have to go back 15 years when I worked in local radio in the Columbia market. Our radio stations were forming a relationship with Columbia College Athletics and we were hosting a live radio event at one of the department’s fund raisers. That was the first time I met Bob. We conducted a couple of live interviews that evening and that was the extent of our relationship. Shortly thereafter I left the market and my connections to Columbia College ended.
Over the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to interview him over the phone for Missourinet, but never brought up our initial introduction until I had a chance to personally see Bob at a press conference in Jefferson City just a couple of years ago when Coach was enshrined into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
I re-introduced myself. Told him how our paths had crossed over a decade ago and he recognized my face and remembered where were held our radio event. I was stunned that he remembered.
He was and always has been generous with his time. It nice to see Coach Burchard honored for what he has been able to achieve Columbia.
Stats and figures-courtesy of ColumbiaCougars.com