Over a highly successful coaching career that included four state championships, Jimmy Burchett influenced countless Franklin High School girls’ soccer players.
With the establishment of a scholarship in his name, the 18-year coaching veteran will continue to do so.
Burchett was dismissed as coach at Franklin following the 2014 season, during which the Lady Rebels went 17-4-1 and lost to eventual Class AAA state titlist Clarksville in the substate round. A couple of months after his dismissal, Burchett was diagnosed with lung cancer.
“The combination of the two things made my heart break for him,” said Christine White, whose daughters Chesney and Jiliana were teammates on Franklin’s last state championship squad in 2011. “I wanted to do something for him. We tried to figure, what could we do to honor him.
“He’s impacted girls for years and years. This way, he could continue to have an impact.”
In just over a month, nearly $3,000 have been raised through a GoFundMe campaign. Plans are to award $1,000 annually to a Lady Rebel soccer player who will continue her career collegiately, with “special consideration … given to student-athletes who have embraced the Lady Rebel tradition through dedication and commitment to the Franklin High School girls’ soccer team.”
“This is absolutely fantastic,” Brentwood girls soccer coach Cal Long said. “I think this is such a wonderful idea and something that speaks to the true heart of the game, of what Jimmy has not only brought to Franklin High School but to youth soccer in Middle Tennessee.”
Burchett succeeded Gary Shrader – who led the program to nine state titles before stepping down in 1996 – and compiled a 309-72-1 record. His teams advanced to eight championship games, winning in 2000, ’02, ’04 and ’11 and placing second in 1999, 2001, ’09 and ’10. The 2011 team went 24-0 and was named No. 1 in the nation by the National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America (NSCAA).
Additionally, he coached five high school all-Americans – Brittney Potts (2001), Katy Rayburn (2002), Lucy Brient (2008), Morgan Zigelsky (2009) and Jessica Hiskey (2011).
“I just wanted him to feel this outpouring of support from the community, especially the way his coaching career ended,” White said. “I feel like a lot of people will want to show their support. Coaches have been very supportive.
“I just want him to be celebrated.”
To learn additional information on the scholarship fund, go to http://www.gofundme.com/BurchettScholarshp.