No regrets: After whirlwind hoops career, Chris Burgess happy to be back at Utah as an undergraduate coach

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  • Hawk Littleton, CO
    Jan. 17, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    C'mon, ute fans, whether it was ignorant or foolish, he was speaking rhetorically and you MUST admit that the response to Roger's comment was WAY over the top -- fueled, of course, by the indignation ute fans.

    Regardless, interesting article, great guy, wish Chris the best, and I'm sure BYU will keep him on "the list" for that someday in the future when Dave Rose decides it's time to hang 'em up.

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 3:09 p.m.

    I still remember the Reid, Burgess incident, and I remember as a BYU fan just thinking to myself...why? Why do crazy BYU coaches and employees say stupid things like this? No, BYU is not the Lords University, nor do all Mormons cheer for BYU...many are in third world countries where they are more concerned about where their next meal will come from.

    That said, I also remember following Burgess and his shortcomings at Duke, and thinking "what comes around goes around". Mark Madsen had the same experience with Reid and never said boo about it, while Burgess and his parents had to whine to the media about how he was approached. I think BOTH Reid and Burgess would take their statements back if they could, because neither party did or said the right thing in that situation.

    I wish Burgess all the best. He sounds like a great guy who's learned a lot from his experiences.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    @ StGtoSLC, I stand by my comment. See it all the time where an athlete chooses the big name school but is only good enough to ride the bench while at a "lesser" school, they would play a lot and refine their skills and be better prepared for the next level if they are truly good enough. If they don't have aspirations to move to the next level, then that's different. Enjoy the experience. But for Burgess, he would not have transferred if it was just about the experience of being on one of the storied programs with a fantastic coach. I could develop the argument further, but my point is sufficiently made. This, by the way, is not a personal attack on Burgess. I am totally neutral about him, just like I am about Shawn Bradley who grasped the golden ring by coming out too early and had less than he could have had.

  • pocyUte Pocatello, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:42 p.m.


    You're correct. Clyburn was better than Wash, but he was gone as soon Boylen got fired. Coach K certainly didn't run him off. He would be one of those players who left on his own accord, along with O'brien. Boylen got some guys with talent, but there certainly wasn't enough to compete in the MWC or the Pac-12.

    Jan. 15, 2014 6:14 p.m.

    Esquire, ego exceeded the talent? Do you know, or have you ever met Chris? I'm going to answer that for you, and say no, because you couldn't be further from the truth.

  • CA. reader Rocklin, CA
    Jan. 15, 2014 4:45 p.m.

    I have an idea: why don't we get over this and move on?

    I think Roger Reid was a better coach of lesser-known and -talented players. He didn't have much luck with his dream recruits like the 7'6' guy whose name escapes me right now.

    See how little this all means in the long run?

  • jpc53 Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    You must be forgetting JJ O'Brian who Krispy made three appointments to meet with him and his parents and blew them off all three times. He went on to start at San Diego. Or the kid that went to Iowa State and was name the Big 12 newcomer of the year. Krispy ran them both off and they were better than anybody he had for the next two years. Washburn was a complete flop until the last half of his senior year which was good enough to get him a job in Europe.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 2:54 p.m.

    Riding the bench at Duke, or developing skills at BYU or Utah. The ego exceeded the talent.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    Jan. 15, 2014 2:53 p.m.

    Poor Roger. That's a story that's never going to die.

    Good Chris has had a career he's proud of.

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 1:18 p.m.

    "Some players out of high school are way overrated."

    Exhibit A - Jake Hypes

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:51 p.m.

    The Burgess dissin' the Y for Duke story didn't ruin my day when it happened and his finding work in a field he evidently likes is a nice ending.

    I think more ought to be said about high school players who think that they are pro potential and a couple of years at any college with a good program will do until they are drafted and make big bucks. I think Mr. Burgess is fortunate to be able to re-attend the U and find work in a field he evidently likes. I am glad that he did find work in Europe as a professional athlete.

    Many are not so fortunate. It appears that many young men are used (abused?) by NCAA football and basketball programs for short term gains but sold out as to an education or some training for life beyond intercollegiate athletics. See the UNC Chapel Hill mess about credit for non-existent ethnic studies classes and the appalling fact that many - not all but more than one - major college athlete is functionally illiterate. Even if they make the pro leagues for a season or two.

  • ImaUteFan West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:27 p.m.

    As someone who cheers for the "other" team, I remember just laughing when I heard about Roger Reid's "9 million members" comment years ago. It just seemed so ridiculous at the time.

    However, I have to think that if Coach Reid could take that statement back, he would.

  • pocyUte Pocatello, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:00 p.m.


    You bet. I think the telling thing about Boylen at Utah is how many players Krystkowiak kept who were recruited by Boylen. Most of the people who left the program left because their schollies were not renewed. Boylen struggled at identifying talent. He did a good job with Luke Nevill, and his best recruit was Washburn. Outside of that his next best was Marshall Henderson, who didn't quite work out.

    I liked Boylen and wanted it to work out, but I am very happy with coach K and the direction Utah is headed.

  • Kouger Lehi, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    I wonder if during some quiet moments Chris has asked the "WHAT IF?" question. Ok, I'll stop, I don't want to get fired too.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    Reid should never have made his comment. That said, Burgess had a chance to help a rising BYU team gain more national prominence. There had not been as many good LDS ball players, at least not as compared to today, so the thought of BYU gaining national exposure was appealing to everyone, fans of BYU and sports in general or not. And while that may or may not have been what Reid meant with his comment he never should have said it, religious prejudices have no place in society. Imagine if Dave Rose had made such a comment about Parker...while Parker's presence at BYU would have made a huge difference he still was allowed to choose for himself with no pressure from BYU on religious grounds.

  • Cougar Passion Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:41 a.m.

    As a BYU fan, I was certainly disappointed that Chris didn't choose BYU, but I wasn't impressed with Roger Reid for saying what he did, inaccuracy about the number of fans aside. And although I also didn't like *how* Reid was fired, it was pretty apparent that he wasn't the coach to maximize the potential of the BYU program. The furor that erupted over Chris revealing what Reid had said to him was the excuse to finally make the coaching change. Shows it's always wise to be careful about what you say and how you say it. By the way, Mark Madsen is on record as well for saying that Reid said the same thing to him. If Mark had publicized that when he chose Stanford, Reid might well have been dismissed earlier.

    One other thing: A lot has been made about Chris Burgess's dad being a BYU alum. However, his mom went to Utah.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    To play basketball at Duke or BYU or Utah?

    Ummmm...Filet Mignon or Flank Steak?

  • Tilka PORTLAND, OR
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:43 a.m.

    Reid basically lost his job over the Burgess incident and, unfortunately for him, he had never recovered from it. Coaches all over the country, both basketball and football say incredible and crazy things to try and get players to come to their school. Reid was probably no exception. I feel sorry for him.

  • brluthi Provo, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:25 a.m.


    Thanks for the info! I guess his skills are more specialized. He also didn't have much to work with and it seemed he had a pretty poor attitude, but I'm sure he's happy to be where he is now.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:20 a.m.

    Hatch, I think the issue was the implication by Roger Reid that every single member of the LDS Church would be disappointed by Burgess' decision. That, in turn, implied that every single member of the LDS Church is a BYU fan. Reid didn't say, as you said above, that "many church members were disappointed"....what he said, in effect, was that EVERY church member was disappointed.

    Since over half of all church members live outside the U.S., it's not a stretch to assume that a vast majority of them aren't BYU fans because they don't follow American college sports or even know what BYU is. And it may surprise you but there are church members - even some in good standing - who are fans of other universities. I'm sure the church members who are Duke fans (and there are many) weren't disappointed by Burgess' decision.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    I'm a BYU alum and a Utah alum with degrees from both schools. I wasn't let down or disappointed in Chris going to Duke instead of BYU. In fact, he would have been unwise to pick a lesser program over the opportunity to go to a perennial NCAA champion contender over a perennial Top 40-50 program.

    I do wonder though why his credits from Duke weren't accepted by Utah. It would seem if that were to happen it would be the inverse.

    Best of luck to Chris and his family!

  • AZguy Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:49 a.m.

    As a Cougar fan, I remember being bummed out that he did not come to BYU, but I certainly did not blame him. Who wouldn't chose Duke over BYU?

    I do wish he would have had better years at Utah and avoided injuries, but it sounds like he has a great perspective and is grateful that he got paid to play basketball for 10 years.

    Nice article about what seems like a great guy. Maybe he can coach BYU basketball in 10 years when Rose retires. jk U fans.

  • pocyUte Pocatello, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:49 a.m.


    Boylen has spent most of his career in the pro ranks. He was the bigs coach at Houston with Olajuwon and Barkley was also a coach with the Warriors and the Bucks. All together about 13 years in the NBA. Realistically, he is probably suited more the pro game than the college.

  • Ed Grady Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    Sounds like Reid was upset for nothing, since Burgess' playing career was rather nondescript. Some players out of high school are way overrated.

  • Fahrvergnugen Provo, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:45 a.m.

    Agree with "imcrimson"--BYU is not the end all for all church members. It was an ignorant response. And I'm very surprised that Boylen is the Assistant Coach for the Spurs. His record at Utah definitely didn't earn him that position. I wonder what he did for the two years in between.

  • imcrimson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 6:08 a.m.

    Hatch "I could never understand why his parents got so upset at Roger Reid for telling the truth. Many church members were disappointed when he choose Duke over BYU". It was just BYU fans that were disappointed. Most of the 9 million members of the church (who aren't even Americans - much less BYU basketball fans) didn't really care one way or the other. And many active members of the church who root for other colleges that compete against the Y were thrilled. Coach Reid was out of line with that comment.

  • desnewsreader Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:11 a.m.

    While most BYU fans are good about keeping perspective, there are others who equate their athletic teams with loyalty to the church. Chris Burgess had a responsibility to make the best decision for himself and his family, not for BYU. The reason Roger Reid received so much grief for his comments is that he lost sight of this perspective. Even from an LDS viewpoint, there was nothing superior about attending BYU than attending Duke.

  • Hatch Sandy, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 9:12 p.m.

    I could never understand why his parents got so upset at Roger Reid for telling the truth. Many church members were disappointed when he choose Duke over BYU.

    Good to hear he is doing well and had a good time playing over seas.

    Wish him the best.

    Who knows maybe in the future he ends up at BYU. Stranger things have happened.