Poland: Alex Burdette new HC of LFA champions, the Białystok Lowlanders

The Białystok Lowlanders, reigning champions of Poland’s Liga Futbolu Amerykańskiego (LFA), have hired Alex Burdette as their head coach for the 2019 season.

The 26 year old Burdette was the offensive coordinator for the Hildesheim Invaders in the German Football League in 2017.

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.

After graduating from Waccamaw high school, Burdette played football for one year at West Virginia University and two years at Clemson University, before becoming a student assistant under Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris. 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 offered him the job as their offensive coordinator.

The Lowlanders asked him about his decision to sign with the club and his background.

What was the main factors which convinced you to choose Lowlanders? 

Burdette: I chose the Lowlanders not only due to their great success at the highest level, but also because of the positive culture they have built. It is a true family atmosphere and something I am very proud to be a part of. I spent a couple of months making my decision, but in the end it was clear the Lowlanders provided the best opportunity for the biggest challenge.

Have you watched game film from this past season?

Burdette: I watched games from the previous season and that was a big part of my decision to join the Lowlanders. The team plays heart, effort, and pride which really drew my attention.

What stands out to you about the team and the players?

Burdette: Many players stand out but what I am most impressed with is that the players put the team first and not themselves. This is what it takes to be successful at the highest level. The offense found success controlling the tempo and hitting big plays at the right time, while the defense played with intensity and vigor. Strong special teams and controlling the field position was key and we will look to build on these positive aspects.

What is your favorite team in NFL and who do you predict will play in Super Bowl?

Burdette: My favorite NFL team is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I grew up in a small town not close to any professional teams, so I never really had a favorite. After college, my roommate and teammate Adam Humphries signed with the Buccaneers. I figured that was as good of a reason as any to cheer for a team, so here I am. Go Bucs, fire the cannons! The Super Bowl is always tough to pick, sometimes teams that have a bad season get hot at the right time and make a good run. If I were to guess, I’d say it will be the Saints vs the Patriots. Drew Brees vs Tom Brady would be a great game!

Where did you grow up? What was the sports culture? Were you ever forced to pick between football and another sport?

Burdette: I grew up in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Sports are a very big part of the culture in the south. Growing up, I played football, basketball, baseball, soccer, ran track, wrestled, pretty much everything they would let me do. Once you get to high school you have to narrow it down, so my three were football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring. Most people who play in college only play one sport due to the time commitment it takes, so after high school I began to focus fully on football.

Why Europe? What was the reason you came here as coach not player?

Burdette: I had a coach in college that played in Italy after his college career and he was the one who introduced me American football in Europe. I have always wanted to broaden my horizon and experience different cultures, this opportunity provides me to do that and also work in the game that I love. I came to Europe as a coach because this is what I’ve always wanted to do as a career and has been a fantastic opportunity thus far. After multiple injuries to my right shoulder, my playing career came to an end. As much as I would like to strap up the helmet and pads one last time, I love coaching and have thoroughly enjoyed very bit of it!

Tell us about your background.

Burdette: I had a good high school career, helping our team to the playoffs each year. I played well enough to get a call from West Virginia University and earned a spot on their roster. Following my freshmen year I transferred to Clemson University where I finished my career. Being a Division I athlete taught me much more than just football. You learn how to manage time efficiently, work diligently, and to pay a high attention to detail. You learn how to not only be successful on the field, but more importantly off of it.How much do you know about Poland?

Burdette: To be honest I don’t know much about Poland, but my brother and some friends have visited before and they have all said Poland is fantastic. They have told me great things about the culture, scenery, and most importantly how nice the people are. I can’t wait to experience Poland for myself!

What kind of person as a player and coach are you?

Burdette: I am a positive person and therefore coach with a positive attitude. I will never ask for more than a player’s best effort and a good attitude. Football is such a special game that brings people together in ways no other sport can. Getting to experience this with teammates, players, coaches, staff, everyone involved is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Bringing an organization together around a core set of positive values and great effort is what leads to success.

What  motivates you? 

Burdette: I am motivated by both the love of the sport and that this is something I would like to do my whole life. I’ve loved this game ever since I was a kid and it has been a dream to have this as my career

What is your goal for upcoming season

Burdette: Our goal for the season is to be the best that we can be. We will aim to play with heart, passion, and together as a team. We will treat others with respect and give our maximum effort everyday. If we are able to do these things, successful will follow.

You will be one of the youngest head coaches in Europe. What kind of challenge is this for you?

Burdette: This will be a big challenge, but it is something I have been working towards my entire life and I am ready for. Life is about pushing the boundaries and broadening you horizon. The opportunity to be a HC at a top program is something I am fully prepared to take head on.

The Lowlanders won the title last year. What kind of pressure does that bring?

Burdette: Having won the title last year will make matters even more difficult because now their is a target on our back. We will get everybody’s best game, people always want a shot at the champion. This is something we experienced at Clemson every year and I am accustomed to it. We will relish our role as champions and understand that everyone will be watching our every move. We will come together as a team and face these new challenges with clear eyes and a full heart.

Will you change much from last year?

Burdette: I liked a lot of what I saw from last year’s games, and while it won’t be exactly the same there will be many similarities. We will take what worked last year and also add new material. I’m really looking forward to working with the players and staff in creating a system that puts us in the best situations possible for success.

Photo by Jonas Kretschmann

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