DeChon Burns begins his second season at UTEP after coordinating one of the top defenses in the NCAA FCS ranks at Texas Southern from 2006-07.
The Miners increased their sack total from 16 to 23 during Burns' first year in El Paso. The 23 sacks were divided amongst 15 players, including eight defensive linemen.
Robert Soleyjacks tied for second in the nation in fumble recoveries with four, while adding 28 tackles and 2.5 tackles for losses. Bernard Obi was appointed to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team after tallying 15 tackles, including 2.5 for losses. Other D-Line standouts included Brandis Dew (4.5 TFL in only seven games), Landon Goodwell (32 tackles, four TFL), Aaron King (23 tackles, four TFL), Ja-Boy Leomiti (31 tackles, 4.5 TFL), James Olalekan (24 tackles, 3.5 TFL) and Steve Riddick (32 tackles, 4.5 TFL).
Texas Southern finished 31st in tackles for losses in the Division Football Championship Subdivision in 2007, averaging seven per game. TSU was also 41st nationally in pass defense, yielding 190.7 yards per game. Headlining the Tiger defense was senior end Derrick Gray, who tied for first in the country in tackles for losses per game (2.2) and tied for eighth in sacks per game (0.9).
In 2006 Texas Southern tied for sixth in the nation in turnovers gained (29) and interceptions (17), 18th in third down conversion percentage defense (32.8 percent), tied for 23rd in fumble recoveries (12), and tied for 31st in sacks (23). Senior linebacker Vincent Davis was tied for 10th in the NCAA in sacks per game (0.9) and tied for 15th in tackles for losses per game (1.5), and senior safety Stacey Thomas was tied for 15th in tackles per game (10.4).
Burns was the defensive line coach at TSU in 2004 and 2005 prior to being elevated to defensive coordinator. He started his college coaching career as a defensive graduate assistant under Steve Spurrier at Florida in 2001. The Gators posted a 10-2 mark that year and beat Maryland in the FedEx Orange Bowl, 56-23, to close out the campaign rated third nationally.
Burns followed Spurrier to the NFL's Washington Redskins for the 2002 and 2003 seasons. His title was assistant defensive line coach/defensive quality control in 2002 and defensive assistant/special teams in 2003. During the summer of 2004 Burns took part in the NFL's Minority Internship Program, working with the San Francisco 49ers as assistant linebackers coach.
He was a member of USC's 1989 Rose Bowl team before suffering a neck injury that ended his collegiate career. He assisted the Trojan coaching staff during the 1990, 1991 and 1992 seasons.
Also an accomplished baseball player, Burns played center field for USC in 1992 and was in the Houston Astros' Developmental League in Merced, Calif. in 1994.
He received his bachelor of arts degree in Communications from USC in 1993. Burns is fluent in Spanish. He and his wife, Enid, have two sons, Lorenzo (11) and Simeon (10), and a daughter, Jailyn (7).