Floyd Burnsed: State FB Coach of Year

State Coach of the Year Floyd Burnsed (left) presented CIF state championship trophy to one of his players. At right, Burnsed took a knee on the side when the Acalanes of Lafayette team had its championship photo taken. Photos: Mark Tennis.

Acalanes of Lafayette head coach became the oldest known winner of a CIF state football title and has won more than 200 games during the high school portion of a career that spans six decades. We first got to know him from a 19-year stint at Miramonte of Orinda, where he won 10 league titles and developed a reputation for working with quarterbacks.

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It wasn’t one of those lopsided games in which the outcome was obvious, but there was some time near the end of the CIF D3-AA state championship contest between Acalanes of Lafayette and Birmingham of Lake Balboa played on Dec. 9 at Saddleback College so that a scan of all of the previous CIF state finals since 2006 could be made.

The quest was to see if there had ever been an older head coach than Acalanes’ Floyd Burnsed to be handed a CIF state title plaque. The Dons completed their 35-23 triumph and not long after the scan was done as well. Burnsed, 76, is the oldest since those 2006 games (which was when the CIF re-started state football championships after nearly 80 years) and probably is the oldest for all CIF state titles. There just isn’t a way to check through every one of the title teams from the early years of CIF state football in 1920s to be 100 percent certain.

Burnsed also is what some coaches in the business call “a lifer.” And because he’s had a high school coaching career that has covered 24 seasons over two schools with more than 200 wins and now there’s a state title on the resume as well, Burnsed has been selected today to be the 2023 Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year.

Acalanes standout Trevor Rogers (5) and head coach Floyd Burnsed shared a quiet moment prior to CIF state championship trophy presentation. Photo: Mark Tennis / Cal-Hi Sports.

There’s just one coach for each season who gets the No. 1 honor for the state and gets added to an all-time list of honorees that stretches back well more than 100 years. Burnsed is the second winner from the East Bay portion of the San Francisco Bay Area in six years, but the previous honoree, Michael Peters from McClymonds of Oakland, is from the CIF Oakland Section. The last one from the CIF North Coast Section was Dave Silveira from Alhambra of Martinez in 1996. Burnsed also is considered the state medium schools coach of the year, which means this year there is a selection for large schools to go with small.

It wasn’t a great start for this year’s team at Acalanes, but part of that was on purpose. Burnsed and his staff knew it might have a group capable of some major accomplishments, so they tested it with a hard non-league schedule. This resulted in losses to San Marin of Novato, San Ramon Valley of Danville and Amador Valley of Pleasanton.

Things began turning around within a few weeks of those losses and other than a one-point loss to longtime rival Campolindo of Moraga the Dons were rolling entering the CIF North Coast Section D4 playoffs. San Marin, which went 10-0 in the regular season including a big win over eventual CIF D3-A state champ Marin Catholic, was the top seed. In a rematch to determine the NCS title, however, Acalanes put it all together for a 24-7 victory. The Dons then defeated 2022 CIF D4-AA champ Escalon in the regionals, 49-14, prior to facing Birmingham for the state title.

Birmingham had the early lead in that game and there was a moment just before halftime when it looked like Acalanes QB Sully Bailey had been knocked out the game with a knee injury. He didn’t miss a beat and together with Cal-bound WR Trevor Rogers, WR/DB Paul Kuhner, WR Nico White and the rest of the squad, the Dons were able to win their first CIF state title by a 35-23 score. They had earlier won their first-ever NCS title.

“I think the kids bought in to what we were doing from the first practice,” Burnsed commented after the state final. “We’re also so fortunate to have the staff that we have. Dave Ortega (former Cal player and defensive coordinator) does a great job.”

Burnsed spent so many successful years at his former school, Miramonte of Orinda, that in 2018 he was inducted into that school’s Hall of Fame. He first came to Miramonte to be head football coach in 1982. It was his first head coaching job after assistant roles at Russellville High in Kentucky and at Lamar High in Houston, Texas. He taught and coached at Miramonte for 19 years where his teams won 154 games, 10 league titles and four NCS crowns. Those Miramonte teams also were known for throwing the ball. Former NFL players Drew Bennett and Ken Dorsey were among Floyd’s quarterbacks. Dorsey also later became an offensive coordinator in the NFL.

After the 2000 season, Burnsed decided to do something different and left Miramonte for Solano Junior College. He has lived in Vallejo for many years so a move in residence wasn’t necessary. Floyd stayed at Solano College through the 2015 season. Some of the players he coached there included NFL players Patrick McCoy and Mike Gibson and running back Draak Davis, who once scored eight touchdowns in one game at Solano.

Instead of retiring after his years at Solano were completed, Burnsed went back to high school coaching for the 2016 season at Acalanes. He says it’s been a one-year decision after each of the years since then, but it would have been hard for him to step away after last year’s group went 10-2 and was returning most of its lineup. The Dons also have had 9-2 and 9-3 seasons under Burnsed in 2017 and 2019 and they were 5-1 in the spring 2021 pandemic season. Combining his years at the two schools, his career record of 212-98-2 has also now been added to the all-time state list of coaches with 200 wins or more.

“There are many qualities that encapsulate Coach Burnsed,” said 2019 and 2020 runningback and linebacker Nick Oh. “He is a calm but inspiring leader who can help us keep our heads straight in a crazy game and focus on the task at hand.”

The Acalanes Boosters added in a post about their head coach that was done during the pandemic: “When you have over 40 years of coaching football, you have a coach with knowledge, a level-headed approach and experience. Our Acalanes varsity coach has all that and more. Throw in other adjectives like passionate, focused, positive, friendly, approachable and cooler than ‘Joe Cool’ that is Floyd Burnsed.”

Now it also can be added that he’s a State Coach of the Year.

Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year
All-Time Honor Roll
(All selections by CalHiSports.com)
(*2020 season delayed until spring 2021 due to worldwide pandemic)

(Based on research by the late Nelson Tennis, our founder, prior to 1979)

Bryan Nixon from Liberty of Bakersfield won a CIF state title in 2022 and earned his 200th win in 2023. Photo: Twitter.com.

2023 — Floyd Burnsed (Lafayette Acalanes) 11-4
2022 — Bryan Nixon (Bakersfield Liberty) 13-2
2021 — Marlon Gardinera
(Scripps Ranch, San Diego) 12-1
2020 — Patrick Walsh (Serra, San Mateo) 5-0*
2019 — Jason Negro (St. John Bosco, Bellflower)
2018 — Michael Peters (McClymonds, Oakland)
2017 — Kris Richardson (Folsom) 16-0
2016 — Dave White (Edison, Huntington Beach)
2015 — Mike Janda (Bellarmine, San Jose) 13-2
2014 — Kurt Bruich (Redlands East Valley) 15-1
2013 — Ed Croson (Chaminade, West Hills) 14-2
2012 — Ernie Cooper (Granite Bay) 13-3
2011 — Mike Papadopoulos (Vacaville) 13-1
2010 — Earl Hansen (Palo Alto) 14-0
2009 — Jim Benkert (Westlake, Westl. Vill.) 14-0
2008 — Mike Alberghini (Grant, Sac.) 14-0
2007 — Ed Buller (Oak Grove, San Jose) 12-1
2006 — Bob McAllister (Carlsbad) 10-0-2
2005 — Harry Welch (Canyon, Canyon Country) 13-1
2004 — Matt Logan (Centennial, Corona) 13-1
2003 — Steve Grady (Loyola, Los Angeles) 11-3
2002 — Kevin Rooney (Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks) 14-0
2001 — Bob Johnson (Mission Viejo) 14-0
2000 — Jerry Jaso (Poly, Long Beach) 14-0
1999 — Mike Herrington (Hart, Newhall) 14-0
1998 — Randy Blankenship (Clovis West, Fresno) 12-1
1997 — John Beam (Skyline, Oakland) 12-0
1996 — Dave Silveira (Alhambra, Martinez) 13-0
1995 — Larry Welsh (Atascadero) 14-0
1994 — Bruce Rollinson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 14-0
1993 — John Barnes (Los Alamitos) 14-0
1992 — Mark Paredes (Bishop Amat, La Puente) 15-0
1991 — Herb Meyer (El Camino, Oceanside) 13-1
1990 — Pat Preston (Bakersfield) 13-0
1989 — Dick Bruich (Fontana) 14-0
1988 — Norm Dow (Live Oak, Morgan Hill) 11-0-1
1987 — Bennie Edens (Point Loma, San Diego) 13-0
1986 — Bob Ladouceur (De La Salle, Concord) 12-0
1985 — Charlie Wedemeyer (Los Gatos) 13-1
1984 — Tim Simons (Clovis) 12-0-1
1983 — Ron Calcagno (St. Francis, Mountain View) 13-0
1982 — Wayne Schneider (Tracy) 12-1
1981 — Marijon Ancich (St. Paul, Santa Fe Springs) 14-0
1980 — Bill Workman (Edison, Huntington Beach) 14-0
1979 — Ron Lancaster (Cordova, Rancho Cordova) 13-0
1978 — Jerry Deuker (Pinole Valley, Pinole) 11-1
1977 — Chris Ferragamo (Banning, Wilmington) 11-1-1
1976 — Benny Pierce (Saratoga) 13-0
1975 — Ed Lloyd (Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa) 12-0
1974 — Dick Haines (Vista) 13-0
1973 — Dwayne DeSpain (Los Altos, Hacienda Heights) 12-0-1
1972 — Bob Hitchcock (Temple City) 13-0
1971 — Gene Vollnogle (Carson) 12-0
1970 — Jack Neumeier (Granada Hills) 11-1
1969 — Forrest Klein (Alameda) 9-0
1968 — Tom Burt (Los Altos) 9-0
1967 — Clare Van Hoorebeke (Anaheim) 12-1
1966 — Ernie Johnson (El Rancho, Pico Rivera) 13-0
1965 — Dick Coury (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 12-0-1
1964 — John Hanna (Bellarmine, San Jose) 10-0
1963 — Paul Briggs (Bakersfield) 9-0
1962 — Bob Berry (Willow Glen, San Jose) 9-0
1961 — Joe Marvin (Sequoia, Redwood City) 9-0
1960 — Sam Cathcart (Santa Barbara) 11-1
1959 — Dave Levy (Long Beach Poly) 11-0
1958 — Paul Huebner (Banning, Wilmington) 11-0
1957 — Johnny Johnson (Oroville) 9-0
1956 — Dick Hill (Downey) 12-0-1
1955 — Duane Maley (San Diego) 11-0-1
1954 — Aaron Wade (Centennial, Compton) 10-1-1
1953 — Milt Axt (Poly, San Francisco) 10-0
1952 — Fred Moffett (Berkeley) 9-0
1951 — Hod Ray (Palo Alto) 8-0
1950 — Ernie Busch (Merced) 11-0
1949 — Bob Patterson (Vallejo) 10-0
1948 — Harry Edelson (Fremont, Los Angeles) 9-0-1
1947 — Jim Sutherland (Santa Monica) 12-0
1946 — George Hobbs (Alhambra) 12-0
1945 — Colon Kilby (Vallejo) 10-0
1944 — Bert LaBrucherie (Los Angeles) 7-0
1943 — Larry Siemering (Stockton) 10-0
1942 — Brick Johnson (Piedmont) 7-0
1941 — Roy Richert (Castlemont, Oakland) 5-0-1
1940 — Clarence Schutte (Santa Barbara) 9-1
1939 — Palmer Muhl (Woodland) 8-0
1938 — Ras Johnson (Galileo, San Francisco) 8-0-1
1937 — Jim Blewett (Manual Arts, Los Angeles) 8-0
1936 — Harlan Lee (Red Bluff) 7-0-1
1935 — Paul Hungerford (Poly, San Francisco) 9-0
1934 — Orian Landreth (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) 12-1
1933 — Dick Arnett (Inglewood) 8-2-1
1932 — Harry Shipkey (Salinas) 11-0
1931 — Tex Oliver (Santa Ana) 13-0
1930 — John Price (Bonita, La Verne) 10-0
1929 — Lourence Janssen (Sacramento) 9-0
1928 — Paul Perrin (Lodi) 9-0
1927 — Mike Voyne (San Francisco Lowell) 13-0
1926 — Brick Mitchell (San Mateo) 9-1-1
1925 — Wallace Newman (Covina) 12-1
1924 — Jimmy Hole (Berkeley) 11-0
1923 — Dave Cox (San Francisco Polytechnic) 11-0
1922 — Dwight “Goldie” Griffith (Bakersfield) 10-0-1
1921 — Thomas Kennedy (Santa Clara Prep) 7-0
1920 — Freddie Rodgers (Salinas) 5-0

List continues back to 1896 in CalHiSports.com State Record Book & Almanac.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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