Coaching life adds up for Kevin Burnette |

As much as he enjoyed math, Kevin Burnette realized the situation just wasn’t adding up.

It was his sophomore year at Clemson University — he had walked on and eventually lettered as a tight end as a senior in 2003 — and Burnette knew his playing days in football were nearing the end.

“I was really, really not enjoying my engineering classes,” Burnette said. “For me it was, ‘Football’s been a part of my day-to-day life for as long as I can remember, and I want it to continue being that way.’

“I come from a family of engineers, so it was sort of the expectation: ‘I’m going to go to college, I’m going to major in engineering and I’m going to go be an engineer.'”

Burnette, a Blacksburg, Virginia, native raised in the northern part of the state, just outside of Washington, D.C., had already offended several members of his family by not attending Virginia Tech, the “family school.” Now this.

“I prayed about it a good bit,” Burnette said. “I still remember the phone call when I called my parents. They were paying my way. It wasn’t me calling to tell them I was changing my major. It was me calling to ask permission to change my major.

“Eventually we talked through it, and they were OK with it. I switched over to math teaching and got that done and got hired at T.L. Hanna right out of college, and the rest is history.”

The rest has Burnette, 36, in his first year as a math teacher and the football coach at J.L. Mann (1-3), which will play Greenville (3-0) Friday at Sirrine Stadium. He’s right where he never thought he’d be.

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