Southeast Missouri State University student publication

SEMO Gymnastics hires Kayleen Burns as Assistant Coach for 2023 - 2024 season

Thursday, September 7, 2023
SEMO Gymnastics coach Kayleen Burns will start her first season as a coach at SEMO. Burns will be in her third season of coaching, as she spent the previous two at her alma mater Suny Brockport, a Division III school in New York.
Photo by Kyrié Padberg

The SEMO Redhawks gymnastics team recently hired Kayleen Burns as the new assistant coach for two events and recruiting for the upcoming ‘23-’24 season.

Gymnastics assistant coach Kayleen Burns has been flipping since she was 2 years old. She attended Suny Brockport in New York as a student athlete and coached there for two years after graduating.

“I have a lot of heart in everything I do,” Burns said. “It’s all or nothing for me.

Burns said she had felt welcomed by the Redhawks the first day of gymnastics camp, before she had accepted the position.

Burns will offer another pair of eyes and voice of correction for the athletes on the floor and has plans to teach the gymnasts new vault skills.

Junior Maddie Greene is an All Around gymnast who specializes in vault and floor. Greene is excited for the new season with new teammates and coach.

“She [Coach Burns] definitely likes change, and I am not someone that is very comfortable with change,” Greene said. “She inspired me to look at the brighter side of things and express change in a good way rather than a bad way.”

Gymnastics head coach Ashley Lawson said Burns’ experience as a student athlete and coach is going to be instrumental to the growth of the program.

“This is the first time in a long time that the university has a second paid assistant [coach] here on campus for gymnastics,” Coach Lawson said. “She [Burns] hit the ground running since the day she got here.”

Burns will also be recruiting for the gymnastics team.

For the first time, the SEMO Redhawks gymnastics team is a fully-funded Athletics Scholarship Program that allows 12 student-athletes to have full rides in the ‘23-’24 academic year.

“The program really speaks for itself,” Burns said. “Becoming fully-funded really helps our recruit level strengthen.”

Lawson said the change will cause the recruiting pool to be expanded and the team will be able to compete against Power 5 schools.

“Big things are happening for our program,” Lawson said. “Moving to fully funded and now getting a full staff, we are just excited.”