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BISD Names Phillip Tanner as Burleson High School Head Football Coach & Athletic Coordinator

Former NFL running back and Dallas Cowboys special teams assistant returns to Burleson

April 22, 2024 – The Burleson Independent School District (BISD) named Phillip Tanner, former National Football League (NFL) running back and Dallas Cowboys special teams assistant, as Head Football Coach and Athletic Coordinator at Burleson High School (BHS). Tanner returns to BHS, bringing nearly 10 years of professional and high school football coaching experience and five years as a player in the NFL to his new position.

Trustees approved the hiring of Tanner at the April 22 board meeting based upon the unanimous recommendation of a selection committee, which included Athletic Director Kevin Ozee, high school and middle school principals, BHS assistant campus coordinator, a parent, and a trustee. 

“Phillip Tanner—PT—has the experience, passion, and charisma needed for Burleson High School’s new and challenging district schedule,” said BISD Superintendent Dr. Bret Jimerson. “PT wants to be at BHS: he is all in. He knows BHS, and BHS knows him. We're confident PT will engage and generate excitement with players as he leads the Burleson High School program to success."

BISD Athletic Director Kevin Ozee said, “We received considerable interest in the position at Burleson High School from highly qualified coaches. Coach Tanner's deep connection to the Burleson community and his rapport with Hughes Middle School and BHS students stood out during the interview process. Phillip's prior experience at BHS laid a solid foundation for our student-athletes and staff. During his two years as head coach in Fort Worth ISD, Coach Tanner maintained relationships with the students and staff he connected with at BHS. His positive demeanor and strong work ethic are infectious, leaving one feeling energized after any interaction with him. We are very excited to welcome Phillip home!”

"This has been a dream of mine, and I’m excited to be the next head football coach here at Burleson High School,” said Tanner. “It’s such an honor, and I'm looking forward to laying a solid foundation and having a great season. Go Elks!” said Tanner. 

Following his NFL career, Tanner coached and mentored high school and collegiate athletes at his alma mater, Middle Tennessee State University. He then coached high school football before working for the Dallas Cowboys as the Special Teams Assistant. 

Former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett said, “Phillip Tanner is simply one of the best people I’ve ever met in my life! His discipline and work ethic helped him overcome a challenging upbringing and allowed him to graduate from college and live out his dream of being an NFL player for the Dallas Cowboys! He was one of the most trusted members of our team and he always performed when called upon. Phillip’s greatest quality is his ability to make a positive impact on everyone around him! It’s rare! Whether it’s a teammate or a coach or someone he’s coaching or someone he’s met for the first time, the energy and spirit that Philip conveys is contagious and makes everyone around him better! I’ve seen it in our locker room! I’ve seen it when he coaches at our football camp! I’ve seen it in everyday life! He’s a special person who lights up a room and brightens the lives of everyone in it! I can’t imagine a better person than Phillip Tanner to coach the Burleson HS Football Team! He will build a team the right way! It will be a team that everyone in the Burleson community will be proud to support! He will develop his players both on and off the field and help turn them into young men who will be ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead once they graduate! They will be better people because of the experience of playing for Coach Phillip Tanner! It will be an experience they will never forget and one for which they’ll be forever grateful! He’s the absolute best!” 

Tanner played five seasons with NFL teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, and San Francisco 49ers. 

NFL Network’s Jane Slater added, “Phillip Tanner is one of the more memorable Cowboys I’ve covered on the beat. Not only was he an incredible locker room guy but a talented player on the field. What stood out to me about Phillip was the respect he always afforded me as a woman in sports. Transitioning from local to the NFL Network there was a level of football intelligence that I was still developing and Phillip was always patient and thoughtful in explaining the game and the why. I look forward to covering the men I know he will develop.”

Rick Stockstill, Tanner’s former head coach while at Middle Tennessee State University said, “Burleson High School did not hit a home run with the hiring of Phillip Tanner as its Head Football Coach, but they hit a grand slam! Phillip was an outstanding football player and coach, and he has been successful as both a player and coach at the high school, college, and NFL levels. As good of a coach that he has been, it is his character that separates him from everyone else. He is passionate, enthusiastic, and committed to influencing and impacting young people's lives! His leadership and drive to reach excellence in everything will be felt by everyone at Burleson High School and I can't wait to see his success!” 

Most recently, Tanner was the Head Football Coach and Athletic Coordinator at Fort Worth ISD. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Middle Tennessee State University and a Master of Education in Coaching and Sports Administration from Concordia University. 

Tanner will meet with staff, players, and parents at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, in the BHS indoor facility.