Arizona Wildcats to hire former USC assistant Greg Burns to coach secondary

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The Arizona Wildcats are set to name longtime Pac-12 assistant Greg Burns as their new defensive backs coach.

Burns coached last season at USC, where he also was the secondary coach from 2002-05. The Trojans won the national championship in 2003 and ’04.

Burns spent the 2018 season at Oregon State and was Cal’s secondary coach from 2014-16. He also spent four seasons at Arizona State (2008-11) and one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2006), among other stops.

Burns, 47, replaces Demetrice Martin, who joined the Colorado staff just before the start of spring practice.

Burns played defensive back at Washington State from 1991-95. UA coach Kevin Sumlin was a graduate assistant for the Cougars from 1989-90.

Burns began his coaching career at Idaho in 1997. He spent the next four seasons at Louisville before joining Pete Carroll’s staff at USC. Burns coached several future NFL players at USC, including 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Troy Polamalu.

Burns’ return to USC was short-lived as embattled head coach Clay Helton purged his defensive staff. Sumlin did the same, although Martin left on his own volition.

Whether Burns’ debut in UA colors is delayed remains to be seen. The Wildcats, currently on spring break, are scheduled to resume spring practice on Tuesday. However, the university announced Wednesday night that classes wouldn’t resume until the following day, March 18, because of concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19). Classes will be online only through at least April 6, at which time the university will reassess the situation.

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