Jesse Burleson is in his ninth season as the head coach of the Hardin-Simmons football team.
His teams have gone 9-2 for each of the last four seasons and have made their way to the NCAA playoffs on all four occasions.
Burleson has a career record of 58-25 in his eight seasons at the helm and that ranks second in wins in Hardin-Simmons history. His 83 games coaches are the third most by a head coach in school history. His teams have gone 39-16 in ASC play. The Cowboys’ four straight trips to the NCAA playoffs is the longest streak in the Cowboys’ Division III history and one more would tie the longest streak of five set from 1992-96 at the NAIA level.
As a head coach, he has coached 86 first or second-team all-ASC selections and 43 of those have been first-team selections. He has also coached 21 players to All-American status a total of 29 times. Dating back to his days as an offensive line coach at HSU prior to becoming head coach he has coached 10 All-American offensive linemen.
A former center himself at HSU, Burleson has coached two players – Josh Knox and Vic Rodriguez -- to the Rimington Trophy, which is given to the top center in the country. He has coached four ASC offensive linemen of the year.
The Cowboys shared the 2013 American Southwest Conference title after snapping a 13-game losing streak to conference rival Mary Hardin-Baylor.
The Cowboys have also set records for retention rates and number of players going through spring drills. He has also established a Gridiron Greats Endowment and has been a strong fundraiser for the program.
He has also worked hard to get the HSU football alumni involved in the program with the Cowboy Football Auction and golf tournament.
Burleson was named the 19th head coach of Cowboy football on Dec. 10, 2010, replacing the legendary Jimmie Keeling. Burleson served as the offensive line coach at Hardin-Simmons for five seasons. He had been the assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator since 2008.
At HSU, he has also been the director of football operations and was directly responsible for maintaining the budget, equipment ordering and travel planning. He also was in charge of recruiting for the Cowboy program.
Aside from his off the field administrative duties he has been a highly successful offensive line coach for the Cowboys. He has maintained his role as offensive line coach.
Prior to his return to HSU in 2006, Burleson spent the 2005 season as the offensive coordinator for former Cowboy Darren Allman at Odessa Permian. Prior to that, he was the offensive coordinator for two seasons at Temple High School. He spent two years as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at South Grand Prairie and one season at his hometown school, Clyde.
He was a student assistant at HSU in 1999 as he finished his degree. HSU won its second straight ASC title that year. Burleson was a four-year letterman and three-time all-conference selection and team captain at HSU. He won three league titles for the Cowboys. He took over the starting center job midway through his freshman campaign and started the rest of his career.
In 2010, he was named as one of the five offensive linemen on the 20-year anniversary team at Hardin-Simmons He also excelled in the classroom. He was a four-time academic all-ASC selection and graduated Magna Cum Laude from HSU. He earned his master’s degree in counseling from HSU in 2017.
Burleson has been married to the former Lois Lee for 23 years. He has two daughters Marisa and Lainey. Lois is also a graduate of Hardin-Simmons.
|2015||9-2||5-1||4-1||---||4-1 (T1)||NCAA First Round|
|2016||9-2||5-1||4-1||---||5-1 (2)||NCAA First Round|
|2017||9-2||4-1||5-1||---||8-1 (2)||NCAA First Round|
|2018||9-2||5-0||4-2||---||8-1 (2)||NCAA First Round|