PISCATAWAY, N.J. (July 14, 2012) – The Rutgers Football program and the entire Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is mourning the passing of Frank Burns. The winningest coach in the history of Rutgers Football, Burns died at the age of 84 Saturday. Burns, who was a standout on the gridiron for the Scarlet Knights from 1945-48, coached for 11 seasons at his Alma Mater.
Burns finished with a coaching record of 78-43-1 over 11 seasons from 1973-83, including an undefeated 1976 campaign at 11-0 and the school’s first bowl appearance in the 1978 Garden State Bowl.
He guided Rutgers to winning records in each of his first eight seasons as head coach and was the second coach in school history to guide RU into the national rankings. The 1976 squad debuted in the coaches poll at No. 18 on November 15, 1976 and 19th in the AP Top 25 poll that same day. The Scarlet Knights were ranked in each of the final four polls to close out the 1976 regular season, including a final national ranking of 17th in both the AP and coaches polls.
"We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Coach Burns and our thoughts and prayers are with the Burns family,” said Rutgers Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tim Pernetti. “Coach Burns led our program to more victories than anyone and into National prominence. More importantly, he was the epitome of integrity and a true leader of men. We will miss Coach Burns deeply, but his legacy will forever live ‘On the Banks’."
One of the most memorable victories in school history came under Burns’ tenure in 1979 as the Scarlet Knights upset No. 17 Tennessee 13-7 in Knoxville.
During his playing career at Rutgers, Burns was a quarterback and guided his teams to a 27-7 record over his career. An Honorable Mention All-America selection by the Associated Press during his senior season in 1949, Burns earned MVP honors of the 1949 CollegeAll-Star Game with a 17-tackle performance versus the New York Giants. During that time period, the College All-Star squad faced off against the NFL champions.
Burns’ 30 career touchdown passes still rank sixth in RU history.