Pack fans of almost any age probably fondly recall one of the best defenders the school has ever had: Dantonio Burnette. “Thunder Dan” as he came to be called, was a player who “brought it” it each and every play, and was the sort of guy that a ballcarrier didn’t want to in the sights of the former Wolfpack great. When Dantonio Burnette tackled you, he tackled you hard. When he hung up his Wolfpack helmet in 2003, Thunder Dan finished with 332 tackles, 46 tackles for loss and the love of Wolfpack Nation. He ranks 2nd in tackles in a career (476), 5th in sacks in a season (9), 5th in tackles for loss in a season (17), and 3rd for tackles for loss in a career (41).
It was Burnette who spearheaded a heroic goal line stand against Notre Dame in the biggest win and season in the modern era of NC State football, when the Pack beat the Fighting Irish, 28-6. After a brief stint in the pros — he made it to the final cuts in the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp — Burnette returned to Raleigh as a graduate assistant in the weight room under then-head coach Chuck Amato. He’s been here pretty much ever since (he went to Pitt for one year), and he finished his degree in Sports Management and a Masters in Higher Education and Sports Management. Meanwhile, he’s lasted through the Amato and O’Brien eras and is now a part of the program that Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren is building here in Raleigh.
Today, it was announced that NC State has promoted Burnette and that he will continue building the strength and no doubt the character of Wolfpack players wearing the red and white:
NC State head football coach Dave Doeren has announced that former Wolfpack linebacker Dantonio Burnette has been promoted to assistant head strength & conditioning coach for football. “Thunder Dan” is entering his 10th year as a member of the Pack’s strength and conditioning staff and served as an assistant S&C coach in 2013.
Congratulations, Thunder Dan, and keep those hits coming…in the weight room now.