For the second time since 2020, a former Dallas Cowboy is taking over in Burleson

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For the second time this decade a former Dallas Cowboy is taking over as the head coach at Burleson High School.

First, it was Jon Kitna from 2020-22. Now Phillip Tanner is leaving his post at Fort Worth Southwest to take over the Elks, Burleson ISD announced on Monday night.

He is Burleson’s third head coach in three seasons as he’s replacing Chad Worrell, who resigned in March to take over at his alma mater Pilot Point.  

“I want to hit the ground running," Tanner said. "There’s not much school year left. I want to get in front of the kids and get the energy going. There’s no doubt we are going into a juggernaut district, but I to want to get the morale and the energy back in Burleson quickly.”

Tanner, who is a graduate of Dallas Kimball High School, had a decorated prep career before playing collegiately at Middle Tennessee State. He then moved on to the NFL where he spent three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, appearing in 41 NFL games.

He began his coaching career in 2019 where he spent a year with the Cowboys as a special teams assistant. Tanner made the move to the high school ranks in March 2020 when he joined Kitna’s staff as Burleson's offensive coordinator for two seasons before being named the head coach at Fort Worth Southwest in the spring of 2022.

“This is a great opportunity," Tanner said. "Burleson is a great community and for me to get a chance to come back to Burleson and finish what we started with Coach Kitna is really exciting."

Tanner led the Raiders for two seasons where SHS posted back-to-back 4-6 records with one of the smaller enrollments in Class 5A at the time. Southwest has since moved down to Class 4A-Divison I.

"I feel like during my time in Burleson we established a lot of relationships in Burleson and I’m looking forward to building on that,” said Tanner, who also mentioned Burleson ISD Athletic Director Kevin Ozee as a big factor in this move.  

“Getting the chance to work for Coach Ozee is priceless. His vision is incredible, he gets it. He’s been around athletics all his life and he runs an amazing athletic department top to bottom."

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