Coach Cheryl Burnett is best known in the sports world for her wildly successful, 15-year career at Missouri State University as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach. During her tenure as head coach, the Lady Bears reached the NCAA Tournament 11 times and in 1992 and 2001 made it to the NCAA Division I Final Four. Her teams also won seven regular season conference titles, five league tournament titles, and played in the 2002 Women’s National Invitational Tournament. Coach Burnett has received multiple Coach of the Year Awards, been inducted into multiple Halls of Fame, and in 2015 was named a Sports Legend by the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
Coach Burnett graduated, where she played, from the University of Kansas in 1980 and had an opportunity to play overseas, but the coaching profession was calling. After a stint on the University of Illinois staff, Coach Burnett started at Missouri State University (then Southwest Missouri State University) as an assistant coach for Valerie Goodwin-Colbert and was hooked from day one. After taking over the program in 1987, Coach Burnett worked diligently to increase the production of her team, and the commitment from the community. Her first season averaged around 900 in the stands and during the 1992 season, the Lady Bears led the nation in attendance averaging close to 8,500 energetic fans.
Coach Burnett has been known to mentor multiple coaches throughout the country. After her time at Missouri State, she spent four seasons at the University of Michigan before retiring and settling in the Springfield, Missouri area.