Former Cordova basketball coach Heath Burns directs his team during a game last season. Burns, who led the Blue Devils to a state championship in 2017-18, is now the head boys basketball coach at Hueytown High School.
Daily Mountain Eagle - Jeff Johnsey
Burns bound for Hueytown
*Heath Burns on the move: Heath Burns was officially named the head boys basketball coach at Hueytown High School at a Jefferson County Board of Education meeting on Wednesday.
*Championship season: Burns led Cordova to the state championship in 2017-18. The Blue Devils defeated Madison Academy 56-54 for the school’s first basketball title.
*Winning ways: In his 12-year career (five years at Cordova, three years at Parrish and four years at Dora), Burns has a 261-96 record with eight 20-win seasons and five trips to the Final Four.
By W. BRIAN HALE, Eagle Sports Writer
After more than a decade of coaching extremely successful basketball teams at both the middle and high school levels, Heath Burns is leaving Walker County to take the helm of the Hueytown Golden Gophers.
With a legacy that includes five stops at area schools, five trips to the AHSAA Final Four, numerous county and region championships and the 2017-18 Class 4A State Title with the Cordova Blue Devils, Burns compiled a 261-96 record and had eight 20-win seasons.
For Burns, the part of the legacy he’s most proud of is the development the skills and the character of the players under his guidance, as well as the relationships he’s forged with the young men and their parents.
“This business that so many of us strive to be successful in every day is about relationships — it extends to the kids, their parents, the coaching staff, the fans and the community. I’ve been incredibly blessed throughout my time in the area to forge wonderful relationships with great people — every team left its own special mark in my life and I look at them all fondly,” Burns said.
“The players I’ve had the honor of coaching were great blessing themselves. Guys like Lavertis Towns and JoJo Walls at Dora, to Reginald and Jermichael Harris, along with Barry Hill at Parrish. Trayvon Chatman and Denzell Daley helped get everything started at Cordova — then Mykelti Chatman became a pivotal leader. The three seniors during our championship year have to be the most special to me — Demetrius Kirk, Jayce Willingham and Isaac Chatman. They were hard work, dedication and character to the core and had been with me throughout their junior varsity years until they stepped off the court at the BJCC with the championship trophy.”
The decision to leave Walker County and accept the position at Hueytown was one that did not come easily for Burns, but the challenge of building the Golden Gophers into a 6A championship contender and the relationships he has built with the administration at the school helped make it a certainty.
“When I was first approached with the offer, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. But as the summer wore on, I began to think more and more on it and decided to take a trip down to Hueytown to look things over — which started the ball moving. There were a lot of discussions I had with my wife Katy about it as this is a large decision that will affect us and our daughter Molly Kate. After a few more trips down to Hueytown, I had grown to fall in love with it and that led to the acceptance,” Burns said. “The administration at Hueytown is just wonderful — they’ve been extremely welcoming and it’s going to be a joy to work with them on a daily basis.”
Although Burns’ career path now leads him out of the area, he and his family will continue to reside in Walker County — his home.
“I believe if I uprooted my family and moved them down to Hueytown, my in-laws would probably never forgive me,” Burns said jokingly. “But one of the advantages of this new job is that it’s an easy drive along I-22, so commuting daily will not be a problem. On top of that, Walker County is our home. We love it and want to spend the rest of our lives here. When you build so many special memories like we have here, it makes it very difficult to leave, so I’m very blessed to have this new opportunity that will allow our family to continue to live here.”