The Northern Illinois athletic department announced their replacement for former head coach Mark Montgomery on Saturday, tabbing Arizona State assistant coach Rashon Burno as head coach, effective March 8.
“What a great day for NIU Men’s Basketball,” NIU athletic director Sean T. Frazier said via press release on Saturday afternoon. “When we started this process, it was about the right fit and matching up with our core values at NIU. Rashon Burno brings significant experience within Illinois, Chicagoland and other basketball powerhouse regions. This is vital in growing the NIU basketball brand.”
Burno, 43, comes to DeKalb after a six-year stint at Arizona State, where he coached under the tutelage of former Buffalo head coach Bobby Hurley. In his time at Arizona State, the Sun Devils were amongst the strongest programs in the PAC-12 Conference, with two NCAA Tournament appearances, and several weeks ranked in the AP Top 25, peaking at #3 in the country in December 2017.
The Sun Devils have finished the last three seasons with 20 wins or better, and have graduated eight all-conference honorees, two sixth-man of the year awards (2018 and 2020), and a Freshman of the Year in current NBA prospect Lugentz Dort in 2019 over Burno’s tenure.
The position had been left vacant since Jan. 3, after the Huskies started the pandemic-affected basketball season at 1-7 (0-3 MAC.) Montgomery, a former point guard and assistant coach at Michigan State, accumulated a 124-170 record over his 10 seasons at the helm, including a 63-98 mark in conference play.
“I am extremely excited about this opportunity,” Burno said via press release on Saturday. “Going through the process and having a chance to meet with Sean [Frazier], [Senior Associate Athletic Director and Men’s Basketball Sport AD Courtney Vinson], [NIU] President Dr. Lisa] Freeman and the Board of Trustees made it that much more desirable for me. I believe I am aligned with what their vision is for the future, not only for men’s basketball but also for the entire student body. I was very impressed with the overall vision and that made it easy for me to want to be at NIU.”
Prior to Arizona State, Burno also had collegiate stops in under Billy Donovan in Florida (2012-2014,) Steve Masiello in Manhattan (2010-11) and Pat Kennedy at Towson (2010-11.) Burno also coached at the high school level at Marmion Academy in Aurora, Illinois, from 2007-2010.
Burno, a native of Jersey City, New Jersey, was a star guard at DePaul University in his playing days, earning 58 starts in four seasons (1998-2002) and leading the Blue Demons to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2001 and a National Invitational Tournament appearance in 2000. Burno is third all-time in steals (2010 and sixth all-time in assists (439) in DePaul’s program history.
NIU is expected to formally introduce Burno in a virtual press conference on Monday, March 8.