Bearcat girls’ tennis assistant Burford to lead boys’ team
     2014-03-06      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
In her first three years as a teacher in the Scottsbluff Public Schools, Madi Burford also has served as an assistant coach in girls’ basketball and girls’ tennis.

In the fall, Burford will assume duties in her first head coaching job after she was named the Bearcat boys’ head tennis coach by Dave Pauli, Scottsbluff Schools activities director on Feb. 20.

Burford, who has been either an assistant to or co-coach with Cassie Behnke for the Scottsbluff girls’ tennis program, said she will have Behnke as her assistant for the boys’ program.

“We work very well together,” said Burford, an undefeated Colorado Class 5A state champion in No. 1 doubles as a senior at Grand Junction High School. “We’re very different people, which is good because we bring different things to the table. We have fun coaching together.”

While Burford said her priority is this girls’ season, which began Monday with spring practice, she already has plans in store for preparing the boys this summer for their fall campaign.

Burford, who has coached in numerous tennis camps, said she will begin working with the Bearcat boys this summer as they prepare for their fall season.

“I’m excited about the girls’ season and then taking on the boys’ season next fall,” Burford said. “It’s a huge benefit that we will have all summer to work going in, and then our season starts in August.

“I think our biggest goal is setting up a program in the summer that the boys can play in, get them in the weight room and then just getting them playing tennis. I’ve seen a few of them play, so I don’t quite know what their talent is and what they are bringing to the table, so that’s what I need to get through the summer.”

Burford said she and Behnke have 15 girls out for tennis this spring, which is down from 18 last year but they have just two girls who have not played. “So the numbers are a little bit lower, but we have more girls who have more experience,” Burford added.

Burford teaches fourth grade at Longfellow Elementary School. A graduate of the University of Colorado, Burford said she could have continued to play tennis at a smaller college but was ready to move on.

“I am excited to announce that Madi Burford is the head boys’ tennis coach,” said Pauli, who accepted the resignation of three-year boys’ coach and local club player Ron Swank following the fall season.

“I would like to thank Coach Swank for taking the program during a tough time. During his tenure, numbers grew from eight, with no courts in 2011, to 17 with our new courts in 2013.”

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