By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports
Not so fast, my friends, Louisiana Tech baseball coach Lane Burroughs said Tuesday night.
Burroughs was reportedly a strong contender for the vacant head coaching post at Baylor, according to reputable national media reports, and was also said to be among four favorites at Kansas and in consideration at Tulane.
But in a Tweet sent shortly before 10 p.m. last night, he halted speculation he was outbound.
“This (train icon) ain’t stopping!!! Get on board or get off the track!! #JYD23” – with the hashtag referring to “Junkyard Dogs ’23.”
Burroughs later confirmed to The Journal he is staying put in Ruston and will return for his seventh season at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park next spring.
His commitment to Tech came after a flurry of speculation, peaking Tuesday afternoon, that he was a prime candidate at Baylor and on a short list at Kansas, and perhaps, Tulane.
Baseball America’s Teddy Cahill tweeted Tuesday afternoon that Burroughs was “emerging as the top target” for Baylor, with that report shared locally by Alex Anderson of KTBS TV in the station’s 6 p.m. newscast.
SI.com (Sports Illustrated) Baylor beat writer Connor Zimmerlee also wrote Tuesday that a two-week search seemed to be focusing on the Bulldogs’ coach, 205-111 (.649) in six seasons (since 2017) in Ruston.
D1Baseball.com managing editor and ESPN college baseball analyst Kendall Rogers reported Tuesday Burroughs was “in the mix” in Baylor’s search but cited other, arguably stronger possibilities to replace Steve Rodriguez, who stepped down last month after going 197-145 in seven seasons. The Bears were just 18-30 in the Big 12 Conference in the last two seasons, failing to reach an NCAA Regional after three in a row from 2017-19.
KUSports.com reported Burroughs was in a “top tier” among four of the Jayhawks’ possible candidates for on-campus interviews. Burroughs was an assistant at Kansas State in 2008.
Burroughs has just guided Tech to its two best seasons this century, and arguably in the history of the program. The Bulldogs have an 85-41 record in that span, posting a 42-20 mark in 2021 while fitting into national Top 25 rankings and approaching Top 10 status. Tech was awarded one of 16 NCAA Regional host bids but was upset by eventual College World Series semifinalist North Carolina State.
This spring, the Diamond Dogs went 43-21, won the Conference USA Tournament and played in the NCAA Austin Regional hosted by CWS qualifier Texas.
Burroughs has had nine straight winning seasons after picking up the pieces of a struggling Northwestern State program and going 16-40 in his first year. He went 97-73 afterward with his Demons posting three straight top three finishes in the Southland Conference and a 59-29 league mark in his last three seasons.
Tech hired him away from Northwestern following the 2016 season after four seasons as head coach. He had arrived as a young assistant coach at NSU after the 1997 season, hired in the summer by current Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn, and was the only remaining staffer after Van Horn departed in December to become head coach at Nebraska. Burroughs was retained in January 1998 by newly-hired NSU coach John Cohen, who went on to great success as head coach at NSU, Kentucky and Mississippi State and is now athletic director at State. Burroughs was Cohen’s lead assistant coach in Starkville, helping the Bulldogs to within a game of the College World Series prior to taking the Demons’ head coaching job in June 2012.
Amid the circumstances, Burroughs uncharacteristically missed a planned Monroe sports talk show appearance Tuesday afternoon. He is slated to be a guest Thursday afternoon locally at 5:30 on the popular “SportsTalk with J.J. and Bonzai Ben” radio show on 1130 AM: The TIger.
Photo by TOM MORRIS, Louisiana Tech