With 26 years of experience, Burns, a former Broyles Award finalist as the country's top assistant coach, is making the move from San Jose State where he has coached the last six years.
"Keith brings a great deal of experience from several programs and with coaches whom I have great respect for," Snyder said. "He is a players' coach who has earned the reputation of being an excellent teacher who develops lasting relationships with his players and enhances their ability to play at the next level. I think he fits in extremely well with our present coaching staff and players in our program."
San Jose State ranked 22nd in pass defense last year, and in 2008 Burns coordinated a defense that ranked in the top 20 in the country in pass defense and quarterback sacks. That team also finished 21st in the nation in points allowed and turnover margin.
As the cornerbacks coach, Burns mentored three NFL draft choices in his last three seasons at San Jose State. Dwight Lowery became San Jose State's first two-time, first-team All-America selection and was a 2008 fourth-round pick of the New York Jets. Christopher Owens, a two-time All-WAC corner, was a 2009 third-round choice by Atlanta, while Coye Francies was taken in the sixth-round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. In all, Burns has coached 14 players who have gone on to have successful careers in the professional ranks.
Burns was the head coach at Tulsa from 2000-2002 where his teams were the basis for the Golden Hurricanes' 2003 Humanitarian Bowl appearance. His first team in 2000 went 5-7 to give Tulsa its most wins in the previous eight seasons.
He has also coordinated defenses at Arkansas (1998-99), Southern California (1994-97) and Pacific (1986-87) while also spending time at Rice as defensive pass coordinator and special teams coordinator (1989-92).
A native of Hurst, Texas, Burns was a three-time letterwinner at Arkansas (1980-82). He and his wife, Yvonne, have three sons, K.C., Tanner and Davis.
BURNS' COACHING EXPERIENCE
2008-09: San Jose State University defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach
2007: San Jose State University associate head coach/cornerbacks coach/special teams coordinator
2006: San Jose State University special teams coordinator/cornerbacks coach
2005: San Jose State University special teams coordinator/tight ends coach
2004: San Jose State University defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach
2000-02: University of Tulsa head coach
1998-99: University of Arkansas defensive coordinator
1994-97: University of Southern California defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach
1993: University of Southern California defensive backs coach
1991-92: Rice University defensive pass coordinator
1989-90: Rice University defensive backs/special teams coach
1988: University of the Pacific offensive coordinator
1987: University of the Pacific defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach
1986: University of the Pacific co-defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach
1985: University of the Pacific defensive backs coach/special teams coach
1984: University of Arkansas graduate assistant