WRITTEN BY CORAL CHRISTOPHER
Spartans, named after arguably the most aggressive warriors in history, are preparing to bring their moral aggressiveness to the football field, starting in fall 2014.
MBU hosted a press conference Tuesday, March 5, in the Lacey Gymnasium of the Carl and Deloris Petty Sports and Recreation Complex to announce the new football program and head coach.
During the packed-gymnasium conference, MBU administrators President Alton Lacey and Director of Athletics Tom Smith introduced Jason Burianek as the first head coach for the Spartans.
Burianek, though young, brings experience and success to the newly forming team.
Becoming a head coach at the university level was a dream of Burianek, from Okawville, and he is enthusiastic to achieve this dream at Missouri Baptist.
“It is a great opportunity to begin my coaching career at MBU. It is a great fit for me personally being in a great location and a school that is committed to athletics and being successful,” said Burianek.
Burianek played wide receiver for the University of Colorado for 1998-2002, and worked as a graduate assistant for several months prior to becoming a member of McKendree University's football coaching staff.
This past year, Burianek was the defensive backs coach, special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator for McKendree, located in Lebanon, Ill.
He was previously a part-time coach for McKendree, while coaching and teaching for Belleville West High School full time.
Burianek plans on vigorously recruiting student-athletes for Spartan football within a 60-mile radius of St. Louis, with help from local high school football coaches.
“There are many great high school coaches in the area," said Burianek. "That will be critical in helping us recruit the great athletes here."
Students interested in joining the team are encouraged to complete an online form on the university website.
The new football team will play the first National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics game in fall 2014, playing scrimmages in fall 2013.
The scrimmage team will consist of approximately 30 student-athletes, and the full team will be more than 100 student-athletes strong in 2014.
All home games will be played at Christian Brothers College High School, adjacent to Missouri Baptist’s main campus.
The two schools have fostered a friendly relationship over the past years and currently share facilities.
Missouri Baptist University will be only the fourth university in the St. Louis area offering collegiate football, joining Washington University, McKendree University and Lindenwood University.
The NAIA has 81 member universities that support football programs, but Missouri Baptist University will be the only NAIA university to offer football on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River.
The Spartans, members of the American Midwest Conference, have no plans to leave the conference even though the conference does not support football.
“We are just starting to get our feet wet in this process, but changing conference affiliation does not make much sense for us,” said Smith.