Jean Marie Burr
Jean Marie Burr
Phone: 401/863-2383
Position: Head Women's Basketball Coach


Head Coach Jean Marie Burr enters her 26th year at the helm of the Brown women's basketball program. The winningest coach in Brown basketball history (men's and women's), Burr has compiled 15 winning Ivy League seasons, including four League Titles from 1991-94 and 2006.

In 1994, Brown made Ivy League history, as it was the first team in the conference to appear in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. She has also led Brown to eleven top-three finishes in the league and recorded her 300th career victory during the 2011-12 season. Burr is a four-time Rhode Island Division I Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year Award winner and most recently earned the honor in 2012. 

Burr's mentality of strong teamwork, dedication and community involvement have helped produce some of the most prominent Brown alumnae. From U.S. attorneys to professional athletes, Burr has coached a string of winners on and off the court. She coached 2004 Joslin Award winner Miranda Craigwell '04, who also received the David Zucconi '55 Fellowship. Burr has also strived for her players to be closely involved in the local community, as her teams have participated in numerous fundraisers and programs throughout the years, including a twelve-year relationship with the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School at Fox Point in Providence.

Burr helped put the Bears on the road to success in just her first year at Brown. Despite inheriting a 6-20 team in 1988-89, she quickly turned things around.  The Bear's 16-10 record that year was their best mark since winning back-to-back Ivy Championships in 1983-84 and 1984-85. The turnaround established Brown as one of the most improved teams in the country and Burr was honored as the Converse District I Coach of the Year.

Over the next two years, Brown finished second in the Ivy League standings, including a 19-7 mark in 1990-91, which broke the school record for wins in a season at the time.
In 1991-92, Burr led the Bears to their first Ivy League Title since the 1984-85 season with record-breaking 22-4 overall and 13-1 Ivy records. Brown had a total of five players selected to the All-Ivy teams and for the fifth consecutive year, the Ivy Rookie of the Year.

The Bears began the 1992-93 season as the preseason favorite for the first time in Burr's tenure.  There was constant pressure to perform, as Brown became the team to beat in the Ancient Eight.  Burr, an excellent motivator, prepared her team for this completely different mental challenge. As a result, the Bears brought home their second straight Ivy title after defeating Harvard in a hard-fought 87-81 overtime battle in Cambridge.  Burr was honored by the Rhode Island sports media for her outstanding year by being selected as the 1993 Rhode Island Female Sports Coach of the Year.

Her team continued to rise to higher levels in the 1993-94 season, capturing its third consecutive Ivy championship, and winning a playoff game against co-champion Dartmouth to earn the Ivy League's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.  The Bears finished the regular season with an 18-9 overall record and an 11-3 Ivy mark.  In Brown's first ever NCAA Tournament appearance, Burr's squad quieted a sold-out crowd in Storrs, Connecticut, as the Bears took a 35-35 tie into the locker room at the half and held a second-half lead against the first-seeded UConn Huskies. The final score, however, found eventual "Elite Eight" finisher UConn on top of the feisty competitors from Brown, 79-60.  For her excellence in coaching, Burr was again voted the Rhode Island Female Sports Coach of the Year.

After building a foundation of top-ranked players and further developing their talents, Burr led her team to a third place finish in the Ivy League in the 1994-95 season. The Bears finished 12-14 overall, including impressive wins over Ivy champion Dartmouth and runner-up Harvard, making them the only team in the Ancient Eight that defeated both teams.

During the 1995-96 campaign, Burr guided her young squad to a 10-16 overall record, and a 7-7 league mark, as the Bears tackled one of their most competitive schedules in history.  Five of Brown's opponents qualified for the NCAA tournament and one saw postseason action in the NIT.  

In the 1996-97 season, Burr guided a young team with no seniors to great heights as the underdog Bears took the Ivy League by surprise and finished with a 15-11 overall mark, and a 10-4 showing in the league, good for second place.  Burr's recruiting abilities were evident again, as she witnessed the emergence of a gifted rookie class, including another Ivy Rookie of the Year, Burr's fifth in her nine-year career.

For the 1997-98 season, Burr's squad sustained injuries to key players, yet she was still able to put together a 7-7 mark in league play and an 11-15 overall ledger. The team improved the following year, finishing 12-14 overall and 7-7 in Ivy League action.

The 1999-00 season marked the beginning of a difficult time for the Bears as they struggled over the next three years with losing records. Brown's 4-10 Ivy mark in 1999-00 was the team's first losing season since 1987-88 and the first ever for Burr. In the 2000-2001 campaign, the Bears went 10-17, with a 5-7 Ivy League record. Things didn't get any easier for the Bears as it finished with a 5-22 overall and 2-12 Ivy record, the team's worst finish in its 30 year history.

In one of the biggest turnarounds in Brown and Ivy League history, the Bears jumped from last place to second place in the league, tripling its victory output from the previous year. To the surprise of many, Brown closed out the season with a 15-12 overall and 9-5 mark in the Ancient Eight. "That season showed what can happen when people really pull together," says Burr.

The Bears continued to improve in 2003-04, matching its 9-5 Ivy mark from the previous year and racked up a 16-11 overall record. Brown recorded victories over all seven Ivy opponents for the first time since the 1993-94 season.

In 2004-05, Burr led Brown to a record-breaking 18-9 season. The team's 18 wins were the third most in the programs history and the most since the 1993-94 season. The Bears placed two on the All-Ivy First Team for just the fifth time in Brown basketball (men's and women's) history. In addition, Burr was named the Rhode Island Division I Coach of the Year. In 2005-06, Burr led her Bears to another Ivy League title with a record of 19-10, 12-2.   Sarah Hayes '06 was named the Ivy's Player of the Year and Colleen Kelly '06 was named to the All-Ivy Second Team.  Though the team has not captured a league title in recent years, Burr has guided three players to the Ivy League's All-Rookie team.  Lindsay Walls '10 received the honor in 2007, Sadiea Williams '11 in 2008, and most recently Lauren Clarke '14 in 2011.  

Coach Burr has an extensive and varied coaching and athletic background.  Before coming to Brown, Burr was an assistant coach at Fairfield University for three years.

A 1977 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Burr earned a degree in business administration.  After graduation, she spent one year as an assistant coach at Davidson College and then played professional basketball for the New Jersey Gems of the Women's Basketball League, and was a member of the first draft in women's professional basketball.  She became an assistant basketball coach and head volleyball coach for Amherst College as well as a graduate assistant for softball at the University of Massachusetts, where she earned a master's degree in sport management in 1982. She later served as women's athletic director and head basketball and volleyball coach at Bethany College in West Virginia for three years before moving on to Fairfield.  

In addition to her passion for coaching winning teams, Burr has served on the Board of Directors for the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and is a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Women's Sports Foundation. A national lecturer and a great motivator, she was recently honored with her selection into the University of New Hampshire Athletic Hall of Honor as well as the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

Burr resides in Coventry, Rhode Island with her husband, Peter, and their four daughters; Judee Lena , Jessica Marie, Joanna Christine , and Jenna Rose.  


The Burr File:
305 Career Wins
178 Ivy League Wins
51 All-Ivy League Honorees
15 Winning Seasons (at Brown)
9 First Team All-Ivy selections
6 Ivy League Rookies of the Year
4 Ivy League Championship
2 Ivy League Players of the Year
1 NCAA Tournament Appearance

* Brown's all-time winningest basketball coach

* Converse District 1 Coach of the Year (1985)

* Rhode Island Female Sports Coach of the Year (1993, 1994, 2005, 2012)

* Received first scholarship at the University of New Hampshire

* University of New Hampshire Athletic Hall of Honor

* Drafted to play professional basketball

* New England Basketball Hall of Fame

* Coached one Olympic Athlete