Burcar Named Interim Head Basketball Coach at Northern Arizona

Shane Burcar has been elevated to the position of interim head coach of the Northern Arizona University men’s basketball program for the 2019-20 season, by NAU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Marlow.  Burcar’s promotion follows the news that Jack Murphy has accepted the associate head coach position at the University of Arizona.

“We are fortunate to have a coach with Shane’s basketball acumen to lead our program as Interim Head Coach,” Marlow said.  “Assistant Coaches Jason Sanchez and Gaellan Bewernick along with the returning talent and leadership on our squad, provide many of the necessary ingredients for Coach Burcar to lead a seamless transition. While NAU will conduct a national search for our next head coach, I won’t be surprised if Shane emerges as a very strong candidate. As has been our practice, we will put all of our efforts into the success of this season and conduct a thorough review of the program at the conclusion of the 2019-20 campaign.”

Jack Murphy has accepted the associate head coaching position at his alma mater, the University of Arizona, under current head coach Sean Miller.  Murphy’s seven seasons in Flagstaff were highlighted by a school-record 23 victories during the 2014-15 campaign, which saw the ‘Jacks make a run to the championship game of the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament.

“Coach Murphy cares about his players and staff as much as any head coach I’ve been around in 27 years in this business,” Marlow said.  “He and his staff have assembled a group of players who are capable of establishing the foundation for a highly successful basketball program.  NAU Athletics is grateful to him for his work ethic, dedication and passion for the game of basketball.  We wish him and his wonderful family the very best as they return to a program and university that they all care about deeply.”

The Lumberjacks return their top six scorers from last season’s squad, which quadrupled its conference win total from the 2016-17 campaign.  Overall, NAU will return nearly 89 percent of their scoring from a year ago, including reigning Big Sky Newcomer of the Year Bernie Andre, who led the ‘Jacks in both scoring and rebounding, as well as rising sophomore Luke Avdalovic, who ranked fifth nationally in three-point percentage. 

Interim Head Coach Burcar joined the Lumberjack staff prior to last season as an assistant coach. He spent the previous 12 seasons as the head coach at Mesa High School and led the Jackrabbits to a 237-103 record during that span, including the 2016 Arizona Class 6A State Championship.  Burcar was honored on six different occasions as the region’s coach of the year.  His teams qualified for the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) State Playoffs in 10 of his 12 seasons at Mesa and captured seven region titles.

In addition, former NAU standout and graduate assistant coach, Gaellan Bewernick, will be elevated to a full-time assistant coach role on Burcar’s staff.  Bewernick has been a graduate assistant coach on NAU’s staff for the past two seasons following a career which saw him finish as the sixth-leading rebounder (704) in Lumberjack career history.  Bewernick is also currently ranked among the program’s top-five leaders in games played (129) and minutes (3,329).


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