Rhode Island native Gregg Burke begins his 13th year at the University of Rhode Island in 2016-17, and seventh as head coach of the Rhody golf team. Prior to becoming URI's first-ever full time golf coach, he served as assistant during the 2010-11 academic year and spent 2004-10 as Rhode Island's deputy director of athletics.
Burke’s impact on the golf program has been evident in success on the golf course, in recruiting and in fundraising. In his first year at the helm, the Rams won the Century Intercollegiate Golf Championship and finished second at the Connecticut Cup. The following year (2012-13), Burke guided the Rams to the Rhody Invitational Championship as well as second place finishes at the Connecticut Cup, the Wildcat Invitational, the Century Intercollegiate Championship and the New England Division I Championship.
Burke's Rams also captured the Rhody Invitational in in 2013-14, before claiming a trio of titles - the Rhody Fall Invitational, the ECAC Championship and the New England Division I Championship - in 2014-15. The following year, Rhody opened the season with a victory at the Ryan T. Lee Memorial Collegiate, and went on to place second in three other tournaments.
Most recently, the Rams recorded four tournament victories throughout the 2016-17 campaign, winning two team titles in the fall and two in the spring. Additionally, URI was the only team to place three student-athletes on the all-conference squad as Chris Houston, Dawson Jones and Billy Walthouse all earned the honor.
Branden Chicorka, Andrew Fiorenzano and Joe Leavitt also have collected Atlantic 10 All-Conference accolades under Burke's guidance. Chicorka - who was a two-time Ping All-East selection - also qualified for the 2013 United States Amateur while Fiorenzano and Leavitt were Northeast Amateur qualifiers.
In the spring of 2016, Walthouse became just the seventh Ram in program history to be invited to the NCAA tournament as an individual competitor, and the first since 1995. It also marked the first time that Rhode Island was represented in the NCAA postseason under Burke.
In six years, Burke's golfers have combined to win 25 Atlantic 10 Performer of the Week awards, compared to just three in the six years before he became head coach.
On the recruiting front, Burke has brought in a New England Interscholastic Champion in Nick Fairweather, a New Hampshire State Amateur Champion and US Amateur qualifier in Joe Leavitt and the first back-to-back Western Massachusetts High School Champion in 50 years and CT Junior PGA Champion in Billy Walthouse. New to the lineup 2015-16 were Oklahoma All-State performer Brody King, Massachusetts Amateur qualifier Jason Shor - who set the all-time challenge cup scoring record with a 13-under at the World Series of Golf - and Dawson Jones, who was the 2014 Metropolitan Junior Champion. Jones also was the 2014 Met Association Stroke Play Champion - as the youngest player in the field - and finished ninth at the 2015 Met Open.
Burke also has made his mark as an advocate for the program in fundraising, having accepted the largest individual gift in the history of URI golf, which resulted in the purchase of a state-of-the-art team travel van.
He came to the University in September of 2004 as Deputy Director of Athletics and served as chief operating officer of the department with special oversight of men's and women's basketball, men's golf and all external relations and operations. He also served as URI's acting and interim director of athletics from May 2006 - August 2007.
Prior to URI, in 2001, Burke had founded his own consulting firm, which included client work in golf, event management, media relations, fundraising and business development. Earlier, in 1999, Burke joined a group of nationally respected basketball administrators in launching the International Basketball League. As Vice-President of the league, he played an integral role in developing the business plan and marketing/public relations strategies while directing the special events, public relations, corporate sales, licensing and merchandising staffs.
In 1987, Burke was hired at Providence College as assistant director of athletics. He was later promoted to associate athletic director in charge of administrative and external relations efforts and developed the corporate partnership and campus-wide licensing programs while also managing the ticket operations, media relations, marketing, promotions, development, advertising and licensing staffs. In addition, he was responsible for all broadcast contracts, basketball game management, basketball scheduling and special events.
In 1982 Burke was named sports information director at his alma mater, Holy Cross. He went on to engineer the Heisman Trophy campaign of Gordie Lockbaum who is still the only non-Division I player to finish in the top five in Heisman Trophy balloting and one of just a handful of athletes to ever finish in the top five twice.
Prior to his work at Holy Cross, Burke was the assistant director of sports information at the University of Michigan, where he worked with the men's basketball and football programs in 1981 and 1982. He began his career as a graduate assistant in the Boston College athletics department in 1980.
Burke was the Tournament Manager for the 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Regional, hosted by URI, continuing his long history of NCAA Tournament management. He also served as Tournament Manager for the 1989 and 1996 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds as well as the 1995 and 2000 NCAA Hockey Championship in Providence. He served United States Olympic Committee appointments to the 1987 and 1990 Olympic Festivals and to the 1991 Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba. Burke also has been elected to numerous campus, Atlantic 10, Big East and ECAC committees.
During his nearly quarter century work with the Academic All-America Awards Program, he held a number of positions including time as National Chairman (1989-94). He was one of the two founding fathers of the Academic All-America Hall of Fame and still serves as a voting member. He also has served on the board of a number of community organizations including Rhode Island Special Olympics, Rhode Island ALS, Rock ‘N Jock Charities and the Holy Cross Club of Rhode Island.
Along the way, he has been honored by a number of organizations for his work in athletics and in the community. He is the recipient of the 2002 Amby Smith Award for Contribution to Sport in Rhode Island, the 2000 Scoop Hudgins Lifetime Achievement Award for Contribution to College Football and the 1999 Providence College Sixth Man Award for contribution to PC Basketball. In 1994, he was honored with the first-ever Lester Jordan Award for service to the Academic All-America Program and the Student-Athlete Ideal.
Burke was a Dean’s List student who graduated from Holy Cross in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He earned a Master of Education from Providence College in 1998.