Kannon Burrage will bring championship experience to his new role as the head men’s basketball coach at Black Hawk College.
The East Moline native and United Township graduate, working the past three years as an assistant coach with a Des Moines Area Community College program which won the NJCAA Division II national championship last weekend, was named Wednesday as the Braves’ new coach.
“This is a job that is very personal to me. It’s a program in the backyard of where I grew up," Burrage said. "The Quad-Cities is home.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the basketball culture in the community and the coaches in the Quad-Cities and the way they teach the game the right way.’’
Burrage begins work at Black Hawk on Saturday, one week after he watched the team he worked with at DMACC complete a 21-5 season by winning its first-ever national title with an 86-75 win over Davidson-Davie Community College.
That experience hit home for Burrage as well.
After graduating from UT in 2009, he spent two seasons playing for DMACC before transferring to Texas-San Antonio.
“To cap off such an unusual season by winning a national championship and to be a former player at DMACC, it meant a lot to me to be there as one of their coaches,’’ Burrage said. “We had great leadership and a lot of selflessness on that team.’’
The group featured the same workmanlike approach that Burrage wants to be trademarks of the way he coaches and the way his teams play at Black Hawk.
“One of the biggest things I learned at DMACC was how to be an every day guy, confronting every day and making certain that you take it and do your best each and every day,’’ Burrage said.
Black Hawk director of athletics Arnie Chavera appreciates Burrage’s background, from growing up in the Quad-Cities to competing at the junior college, NCAA Division I and professional levels and ultimately becoming a junior college coach.
“Having just won a junior college national championship as an assistant coach, he knows the recipe for success now, so it’s a matter of acquiring the needed ingredients to build his own program,’’ Chavera said.
Burrage expects to build his program around players who “will do the right thing in the classroom, in the community and on the court,’’ a process that will start close to home as he recruits.
“We want the best talent to stay home,’’ Burrage said. “It’s a great way to build a program. The culture of basketball in the Quad-Cities is very high, a great place to start building.’’
At Black Hawk, Burrage takes over a program that been led for the past 13 seasons by Darren Bizarri. A professional opportunity with the U.S. Department of Defense prompted Bizarri to leave in December after guiding Braves teams to a school-record 205 games.
After earning his undergraduate degree in health and physical education/fitness from UTSA in 2013, Burrage played professionally for five years in Australia, Singapore, Slovenia and Thailand prior to returning to DMACC in 2018.
He also worked as a basketball camp instructor for high school players, an assistant coach for a summer AAU program and as a substitute teacher at the K-12 levels.
Burrage’s involvement in the game in the Quad-Cities started in 2015 when he started United We Ball, a leadership organization and team that had as its goal developing strategic plans to improve the community through sports and community projects.