Kenni Burns will coach the Cowboy wide receivers in 2014. Burns came to Wyoming from North Dakota State with new Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl. Burns coached the wide receivers at NDSU for four seasons from 2010-13. His last two seasons with the Bison, he also served as the recruiting coordinator.
Burns was the wide receivers coach for each of North Dakota State's three consecutive FCS National Championships in 2011, `12 and `13. In 2013, the Bison offense ranked No. 10 in the nation in scoring offense (38.7 points per game) and No. 14 in total offense (457.5 yards per game).
From 2011 through 2013, Burns helped NDSU to a 43-2 (.956) overall record and a 22-2 (.917) Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) mark on way to its three consecutive FCS national titles. The 2013 NDSU squad became the first undefeated (15-0) FCS National Champion since Marshall went 15-0 to win the 1996 title. That 15-0 record by the Bison also set a North Dakota State school record. NDSU extended its winning streak to 24 consecutive games with the 2013 FCS Championship. That tied both the FCS and NDSU records for consecutive victories. The University of Pennsylvania set the FCS record of 24 consecutive wins from 1992-95. Montana later tied the record from 2001-02. The NDSU record was originally set from 1964-66.
In 2013, Burns coached junior wide receiver Zach Vraa, who recorded a 1,000-yard receiving season, with 1,191 yards on 67 receptions and had 15 touchdown receptions. Vraa earned First Team All-Missouri Valley Conference honors as a junior. Burns coached former NDSU receiver Warren Holloway in 2011, who had 77 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight receiving TDs. Burns also coached Ryan Smith, who earned Second Team All-MVFC honors at both wide receiver and return specialist in 2012.
In 2011, `12 and `13, the NDSU offense featured a pair of 1,000-yard rushers. Burns receiving corps played a key role in blocking for the successful running game. Two of those years also saw a Bison receiver record a 1,000-yard season. The 2011 season was the first time in NDSU school history that the Bison offense featured a 1,000-yard receiver and two 1,000-yard rushers in the same year. Wide receiver Holloway had 1,003 receiving yards, while Sam Ojuri rushed for 1,105 yards, and DJ McNorton ran for 1,020. In 2012, Ojuri (1,047 yards) and John Crockett (1,038) each rushed for 1,000 yards. The 2013 season saw receiver Vraa tally 1,191 receiving yards as Ojuri (1,398) and Crockett (1,277) duplicated their 1,000-yard seasons of the previous year.
Burns will be entering his eighth year as a college coach in 2014. Prior to joining the NDSU coaching staff in 2010, he spent two seasons as the tight ends coach at Southern Illinois. In addition to being part of three National Championships and three Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) titles at NDSU, he was also part of two MVFC titles at Southern Illinois and two FCS playoff appearances with the Salukis. SIU played in the First Round of the 2008 FCS Playoffs and advanced to the Quarterfinals of the 2009 Playoffs. Southern Illinois had a combined overall record of 20-5 (.800) in 2008 and `09 and a combined conference record of 15-1 (.938). The Salukis tied for the MVFC title in 2008, with a 7-1 conference mark, and won the league outright in 2009, with a perfect 8-0 MVFC record.
The tight ends played a key role in the SIU offense. Burns coached two-time Honorable Mention All-Conference tight end Ryan Kernes at SIU. The Southern Illinois offense ranked No. 5 in the nation in rushing offense in 2009, averaging 221.1 yards per game.
Burns began his coaching career at Millersville (Pa.) University in 2007, where he coached the running backs.
He played running back himself at Indiana University from 2003-06. Burns was a three-year letterwinner for the Hoosiers. As a student-athlete at IU, Burns was active in student government. He served as the Athletic Project Manager, and served as a liaison between student government and the athletic department.
Burns completed his bachelor's degree in general studies at Indiana in December 2006.