Burkart takes helm of Southeast football

Robert Galbreath
Posted 5/24/24

Southeast Cyclones' assistant football coach and defensive coordinator was named head football coach this spring.

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Burkart takes helm of Southeast football


YODER – A familiar figure will take charge of the Southeast High School football program as assistant coach and defensive coordinator Shawn Burkart steps into the role as the Cyclones’ head coach this fall.

Longtime head coach and Wyoming Coaches Association Hall of Famer Mark Bullington announced his retirement in November following 41 years at the helm of the Southeast football program.

“I have big shoes to fill,” Burkart said.

Burkart looks forward to the challenge, though, and could not have asked for a better mentor in Bullington – both as an assistant coach and as a player at Southeast under Bullington’s guidance.

“A big thanks goes to coach Bullington,” Burkart added. “Mark got me to where I’m at today. He allowed me to do the things I do well and prepared me for this position. I’m excited about continuing the tradition we have at Southeast. We’ve got a good group of kids coming back to the program this fall and I look forward to a successful season.”

Burkart commenced his football career as a running back and safety at Southeast and went on to play college ball for the Chadron State Eagles.

“I really enjoy football and have a passion for the sport,” Burkart said.

Burkart joined the Cyclones’ staff 25 years ago years when Bullington recruited the young coach to coordinate Southeast’s defensive line.

“In my first year coaching (at Southeast), Mark said, ‘Here – run the defense,’” Burkart said. “I’ve been there ever since.”

Burkart’s coaching philosophy was inspired by each of the coaches he played for or worked with over the course of a long career.

“I picked up things from many different coaches,” Burkart said. “I try to be hands-on in my coaching. Sometimes that requires tough love and sometimes it requires praise. I work to put kids into the best positions to succeed on the field.”

A quote Burkart picked up early in his career stuck with him:

“The day I stop pushing and prodding a player to get better is the day I give up as a coach,” Burkart said. “I remind the kids that pushing them hard is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

While the football season is still a few months away, Burkart eagerly anticipates an action-packed schedule, particularly the “big county rivalry game” against Lingle-Ft. Laramie.

“The Doggers are the team to beat,” Burkart added.

The game against “close rival” Niobrara County High School is also a highlight, Burkart added.

Burkart thanked all his previous coaches, singling out Bullington and former Southeast coaches Crockett Herring and Bruce Sinner.

Burkart also gave a shoutout to Southeast principal and activities director Tim Williams for “having faith in me.”

Williams expressed that faith to the Telegram.

“Shawn is very familiar with the program and the kids,” Williams said. “He played a big part in Southeast winning nine state championships (in 25 years). As a defensive coordinator, he did a tremendous job preparing the kids for each of their opponents.”