Is Hildesheim Invader offensive coordinator Alex Burdette the youngest coach in German Football League?
By Chris Sokoloski, South Strand News
He’s only 24 years old, but Alex Burdette is about to start his football coaching career as the offensive coordinator for the Invaders in Hildesheim, Germany.
“I’ve always wanted to travel, and this was sort of a (way) of doing it and also get paid,” said Burdette, a 2011 graduate of Waccamaw High School. “It’s going to be a pretty big adventure for eight months.”
The Invaders play American football in the German Football League. After winning the league’s lower tier in 2015, the Invaders were promoted to the upper tier. If the team doesn’t remain successful, it could be demoted back down.
The German Football League plays a 14-game regular season from April through mid-September. Teams play one game per week on Saturdays or Sundays depending on when the local soccer teams are playing.
The league is separated into eight-team North and South divisions. At the end of the regular season the top four teams in each division make the playoffs in late September.
The season culminates with the championship game, which is called the German Bowl, during the first week of October.
Burdette will be the youngest coordinator in Germany.
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “Not many 24-year-olds get to run their own offense at a professional level.”
Burdette has been around coaching his entire life. His father, Robert, won a state title with Nitro High School in West Virginia in 1998 and later was an assistant football coach at Waccamaw for several years.
“I’ve always been around it and I’ve always loved the game,” Burdette said. “I was lucky enough and blessed to be able to play (in college) at the Division I level and it only increased my (desire) to be a coach.”
After graduating from Waccamaw, Burdette played football for one year at West Virginia University and two years at Clemson, before becoming a student assistant under Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris.
“I still talk to my teammates today … they’re all my brothers,” Burdette said. “Those guys will be part of my life forever.”
Burdette said being around Tigers Coach Dabo Swinney taught him a lot about attention to detail and time management.
“He used to tell us, the closer you get to the top the air gets much, much thinner (and) the margin of error becomes smaller and smaller and smaller,” Burdette said. “It all comes down to who’s going to do the little things right, and with a purpose.”
While at Clemson, Coach Joe Craddock told Burdette about his experiences playing American football in Europe, and that there were also opportunities to coach in Europe.
Burdette created a profile on www.Europlayers.com and wrote about his interest in becoming a coach.
A team in France contacted him about a job, and then Hildesheim Coach Joe Roman called him. Forty-five minutes into that phone call Roman offered Burdette the job as the offensive coordinator.
“I told him, ‘whoa I need a few days, I can’t just accept it like that,’” Burdette said.
After thinking about it, Burdette accepted the job.
The Invaders players, coaches and staff all speak English, but Burdette has been studying conversational German to use in his daily life.
“I’ll learn a lot more once I’m immersed in it,” he said.
Burdette signed a contract for one season, and the Invaders will pay for his airfare to and from Germany, plus his housing, phone, health insurance and car. He’s also get a stipend.
The players that he’ll be coaching are a mix of Germans and other nationalities, such as Americans, Austrians and Italians.
“There’s just a really big melting pot of guys, which is cool,” Burdette said.
Burdette plans to combine the offensive scheme that the Invaders were already using with what he learned at Clemson and later at Georgetown High, where he worked for Coach Bradley Adams. He calls Adams “one of the best offensive minds” in South Carolina.
After the Invaders’ season is over in October, Burdette will return home to Pawleys Island.
“Being surrounded by the people in this community has really molded me into the guy I am today,” he said.
Burdette’s ultimate goal is to coach for a Division I college program someday, but he could also return to Europe to coach in 2018.
Interested in playing American football in overseas?
Register on Europlayers.com.
Europlayers is the largest online database of American football players, teams and coaches. It is a connector, bringing together and introducing athletes to overseas teams. On the site you can begin researching teams around the world. Once you create a profile, you become searchable by hundreds of American football clubs around the world.