Frank R. Burns
Biographical details
Born(1928-03-16)March 16, 1928
DiedJuly 14, 2012(2012-07-14) (aged 84)
Holland, Pennsylvania
Playing career
Head coaching record
Overall84–52–2 (college)
Accomplishments and honors
Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award (1976)

Frank Robert Burns (March 16, 1928 – July 14, 2012) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Johns Hopkins University from 1951 to 1952 and at Rutgers University from 1973 to 1983, compiling a career college football record of 84–52–2. In 1978, Burns led the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to their first bowl game, the now-defunct Garden State Bowl.

Playing careerEdit

Raised in Roselle Park, New Jersey,[1] Burns played baseball, basketball and football at Roselle Park High School, serving as captain of the football and basketball teams, and winning state championships in both of those sports.[2][3]

Burns played football as a quarterback at Rutgers University for four years, from 1945 to 1948. There he ran the T formation under head coach Harvey Harman, completing 117 of 270 passes for 2,389 yards and 35 touchdowns with a 27–7 career record.[4] He was also a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity.

Coaching careerEdit

Burns coached football at Johns Hopkins University from 1951 to 1952 and at Rutgers University from 1973 to 1983. Burns has the most wins of any head coach in Rutgers Scarlet Knights football history with a record of 78–43–1 including an undefeated 11–0 campaign in 1976. He led the Rutgers to a 13–7 upset victory over Tennessee in 1979.[5]

During Burns's tenure as head coach, Rutgers began playing outside of its traditional schedule of Eastern teams such as Ivy League opponents, Colgate, and Lehigh. Burns was dismissed from Rutgers in 1983 after three consecutive losing seasons.[6]

Later life and deathEdit

Burns retired to the Twining Village Continual Care Retirement Village in Holland, Pennsylvania. He died there on July 14, 2012.[7]

Head coaching recordEdit


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (Mason–Dixon Conference) (1951–1952)
1951 Johns Hopkins 2–5–1
1952 Johns Hopkins 4–4
Johns Hopkins: 6–9–1
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (NCAA Division I/I-A Independent) (1973–1983)
1973 Rutgers 6–5
1974 Rutgers 7–3–1
1975 Rutgers 9–2
1976 Rutgers 11–0 17 17
1977 Rutgers 8–3
1978 Rutgers 9–3 L Garden State
1979 Rutgers 8–3
1980 Rutgers 7–4
1981 Rutgers 5–6
1982 Rutgers 5–6
1983 Rutgers 3–8
Rutgers: 78–43–1
Total: 84–52–2
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game.


  1. "Frank Burns Memorial Service Set For September 9", Rutgers Scarlet Knights, July 25, 2012. Accessed August 12, 2019. "Frank was born March 16, 1928 and was raised in Roselle Park, NJ."
  2. Amdur, Neil. "Sports; Frank Burns: Man in Motion", The New York Times, April 2, 1978. Accessed August 12, 2019. "Like most aggressive, hard‐working individualists, Frank Burns, a former all‐stater at Roselle Park High School and a star quarterback when he played for Rutgers, never considered himself a likely candidate for a heart attack."
  3. "Frank Burns - A Singular Career", p. 3, in Rutgers Football 1980 Media Guide, Rutgers Scarlet Knights football. Accessed August 12, 2019. "The young QB brought in some weighty credentials from Roselle Park, where he was a three-sport standout for four years. He had captained his football and basketball squad, had earned All-State honors in football and baseball for two seasons and in basketball once. His grid team had taken the Group II state title in 1943 and 1944 and the court squad was the state champ in 1945."
  4. "Burns, 23, to Coach At Johns Hopkins". The New York Times. United Press. August 12, 1951. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  5. "Legendary Rutgers Football Head Coach Frank Burns Passes Away". Archived from the original on September 24, 2014. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  6. "Burns Dismissed As Rutgers Coach". The New York Times. November 21, 1983. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  7. Giambusso, David (July 14, 2012). "Frank Burns, former Rutgers football coach, dies at 84". The Star-Ledger (New Jersey On-Line LLC). Retrieved July 14, 2012.
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