Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

June 5, 2013

VSU’s Helfer hires former Blazer Herman Burge as assistant coach

VALDOSTA — When he played for the Blazers, Herman Burge dazzled in front of fans, going down as one of the more electric point guards to run Mike Helfer’s system.

Now Burge, who last played for the Valdosta State men’s basketball team in 2007, is returning to his alma mater to serve under Helfer as the assistant men’s basketball coach.

“Words can’t describe how happy my wife and I are about coming back to Valdosta,” Burge said Tuesday night when reached by telephone. “It is going to be such a dream come true to get back there.”

Since graduating from Valdosta State, Burge has served in various coaching roles at several schools. Throughout the entire process, Burge has viewed Valdosta State, and working for Helfer, as a goal and a dream job.

“One thing when Coach Helfer recruited me as a player, I not only saw him as a guy I wanted to play for but as a guy I would like to coach for as well,” Burge said.

Turns out, Helfer has always thought about Burge being a coach, too. After the news that former associate head coach Nick Gast had taken the head boy’s basketball coaching position at Parkview High School in Gwinnett County, Helfer had the opportunity to reach out to Burge and offer him a position.

“I just reached out to him and realized that he would be somebody that could fill that spot, in more ways than just being a good coach,” Helfer said. “He has a tremendous personality, our boosters are very familiar with him and I just thought it would be a good hire.”

One of the schools Burge coached at was Florida Gulf Coast, this past season’s Cinderella team in the NCAA Division I Tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16 and captivating a national television audience.

Burge also spent time at Stetson University, a Division I school that competes in the Atlantic Sun with the likes of Mercer University.

Most recently, Burge has served as the head women’s coach at St. Gregory’s University in  Shawnee, Okla.

“One thing I always get asked when I am recruiting here for St. Gregory’s is, ‘How long are you going to be here?’” Burge said. “I told them that the only school I would leave for would be Valdosta State.”

A plus for hiring Burge as the new assistant coach is his depth and knowledge of VSU’s system, the Gulf South Conference and Division II basketball, said Helfer.

“Bringing the knowledge of my system; we could probably teach on opposite ends of the floor and he’ll be as good teaching because he played for me,” Helfer added. “He knows exactly how I teach things. That is probably going to be his biggest value.”

To prove his knowledge of Helfer’s system, Burge admitted that he applied some of the system in his coaching at St. Gregory’s.

“When we were talking about the job, (Helfer) said he still ran the same system and I still have most of my game films from when I played there,” Burge said. “I go back and see how we ran certain things when I played and apply that to my teams. So it will be a smooth transition.”

Like Gast, Burge will also be in charge of doing the majority of the Blazers’ recruiting. For Burge, he will just sell his passion for VSU.

“For me, it is going to be very easy to sell my passion for Valdosta State, being a former player and knowing Coach Helfer and his system,” Burge said. “That is going to be the greatest selling point: Having the pride of being a Blazer.”

“Your best recruiters are guys that can sell themselves, sell the program and sell the school,” Helfer added. “There is not going to be anyone better than Herman Burge at doing that. I thought Gast was great at that; Gast a former player. I think Herman’s personality will speak volumes.”

In his final season at Valdosta State in 2007, Burge averaged over 13 points per game, the Blazers’ second highest scorer that season, while dishing out 183 assists in 30 games.

Burge is married and has a newborn baby. His wife is from Macon, and moving closer to the family is also a plus for the job.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything better; the timing was great,” Burge said “I am originally from Midwest City (Okla.), which is 30 minutes from where I am now. So my family has gotten to see the baby grow up a little bit and now it is everybody’s turn in Georgia.”

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • VHS practice1.jpg Getting Back to Work

    Friday officially began the 2014 season for the Valdosta Wildcats and both the offense and defense came out and made statements.
    After holding spring and summer workouts, the Wildcats will practice four more times without pads before beginning full pad practice next week.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lowndes_Brooks1.jpg Lowndes second-most dominant program in state since 2004

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Falcons_Jones.jpg Falcons open camp with ‘sense of urgency’

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Padres_braves.jpg Padres, Hahn silence Braves

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former Blazer Kugbila out for season

    Now, after missing the 2013 season with a knee injury, this signals another hardship for the promising guard.

    July 25, 2014

  • LHS baseball signing Two Lowndes grads sign scholarships

    Lowndes graduates Henry Hoff and Nick Higginbotham decided to take the next step in their respective baseball careers together on Thursday as both signed a letter-of-intent with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 150723-Lowndes_Brooks5.jpg Winding Down

    In its final 7-on-7 test of the summer, Randy McPherson was pleased with how the Lowndes football team looked Wednesday morning.
    Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman, on the other hand, was worried about the kind of hole the Trojans would have dug for themselves at Martin Stadium against the Vikings and Lafayette (Fla.) had it been a real game.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Grable signs with Tampa Bay

    Another former Valdosta State football player joined the ranks of the National Football League when linebacker Jeremy Grable signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday morning.

    July 23, 2014

  • MaryAlice.jpg Just Keep Running

    Forrest Gump once said, "I used to run to get to where I was going, but I never thought it would take me anywhere." In the case of 18 year-old Mary Alice Smoot, anywhere is Tampa, Fla.
    After four years of unparalleled success running cross-country at Valwood, Smoot will continue running competitively next season at the University of Tampa.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10U ELITE World Series Champs.jpg DKSA Elite win USSSA Global World Series

    DKSA ELITE just continues to win, the 10U team’s latest victory came in the USSSA Global World Series held in Destin, Fla. July 8-12.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Blazers Blog
More