Burdette Greeny announces cancer diagnosis, Cougs support

Coug community rallies around Burdette, coach intends to continue coaching


Assistant Coach Burdette Greeny (Left) and Head Coach Jen Greeny (Right) observe the volleyball team during a home game in Bohler Gym.

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports editor

WSU volleyball coach Burdette Greeny shared he was diagnosed with cancer in a video on Tuesday.

Burdette is an assistant WSU volleyball coach and the program’s recruiting director. He is also head coach Jen Greeny’s husband.

“Hi Cougs, I believe leaders should be transparent, direct and honest,” Burdette said in the video shared by WSU volleyball and WSU Athletics on social media. “That is why I’m coming to you now and telling you that I have cancer.”

Burdette told the volleyball team of his diagnosis last week.

“Our team kept it a secret for a week and to them, I am incredibly endured that they did this,” he said. “I wanted to be able to tell my daughters Lauren and Leah face-to-face and look in their eyes and tell them that their dad is going to be alright.”

Burdette has had two surgeries and starts chemo therapy on Monday. He intends to coach for the rest of the year.

“When I committed to play baseball 27 years ago for Washington State one of the things I fell in love with was the fighting spirit that exemplified being a Coug,” he said. “I will fight this, I will never give in. It’s what Cougs do. It’s what I will do,” he said. 

Burdette first came to WSU to play baseball. He played for Cougar baseball for one season in 1997 before being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers.

It was at WSU where he met his wife, Jen Greeny. Since 2007, he has assisted her in coaching both at Lewis-Clark State College and since 2011 at WSU.

Players showed their support for Burdette.

“Even when the whole team knew, from time to time we forgot what [Burdette] was going through because he always had a smile on his face and a joke in hand, you couldn’t even tell what was happening, couldn’t ask for a better example that shows us how to be fighters,” Argentina Ung, WSU volleyball setter wrote in a tweet.

Ung became the starting setter this season. A difficult transition made easier through the excellent coaching staff led by Jen and Brudette Greeny.

Other players showed their support as well.

“Right behind you every step of the way,” WSU volleyball player Michelle Zhao wrote in a tweet.

“God’s strongest warrior!! We are behind you every step of the way,” Julia Norville wrote in a tweet.

Burdette intends to continue to coach the team when WSU volleyball is vying to be at the top of the Pac-12 in a season filled with injuries and adaptation.

“Our team has had to face difficult challenges since the first day of the year. They have been tough, they have been resilient. I want to be with them. They are special and they make me better,” Burdette said.