Northern State brings back Burkett

Published On April 24, 2015 | By Tony Hager | College, Home, Interviews, Wrestling News

The Rochester, Indiana native enters his first season as head coach of the Wolves.

Burkett has spent the last three season as the head wrestling coach at Aberdeen Central High School, where he led the Golden Eagles to two Eastern South Dakota Conference titles (2014 and 2015), two Region 3 titles (2014 and 2015), and the 2014 South Dakota State Wrestling Tournament team title. Rocky coached 28 state place winners, most notably four state champions in his three seasons in Aberdeen. Burkett was named the 2014 and 2015 South Dakota Region 3 Wrestling Coach of the Year, and the 2014 South Dakota High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year.

Burkett returns to the NSU coaching staff after two stints with the Wolves as a graduate assistant from 2005-07 and an assistant coach from 2007-11. In his time with the Wolves, the Rochester (IN) native, helped coach ten wrestlers to NCAA Division II National Tournament appearances, two NCAA All-Americans, and one NCAA National Champion.

Burkett began his coaching career at Rochester High School in Rochester, Indiana. Rocky coached three Zebras to the IHSAA State Tournament, with two place winners. His experience goes far beyond the high school and collegiate ranks, with a laundry list of camp experiences. Since 2006, Burkett has worked at the Northern State University, Dakota Wesleyan University, and most notably the J Robinson (University of Minnesota) wrestling camps, while organizing and running the Aberdeen Central camps.

As a collegiate wrestler at Manchester College in North Manchester, Indiana, Rocky earned two Mid-States Wrestling Conference Championships (2002 and 2003), two NCAA Division III Academic All-American nods (2003 and 2004), and appeared in the 2003 NCAA Division III National Tournament. Burkett earned his Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a Middle School Social Studies Endorsement from Manchester College in 2005. He then went on to receive his Master’s degree in Health, Physical Education, and Coaching from NSU in 2007, while serving as a graduate assistant coach.

Rocky and his wife, Jennifer, reside in Aberdeen with their children Ryder and Becca.

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