Keoki Burbank steps down as Panthers head coach

Ray Hamill/ – Keoki Burbank, far right, looks on during a scrimmage this season.

By Ray Hamill — Head coach Keoki Burbank announced this week that he is stepping away from the McKinleyville Panthers football team for personal reasons.

Burbank, who has been in charge of the Panthers for the past five seasons, says family commitments and a new job at Two Feathers Native American Family Services has limited the time he can give to coaching.

“I just want to spend more time with my family,” said the 34-year-old, who has three young children. “I’ve either been playing or coaching football since I was nine years old.

“And I want to be able to give everything I can to my new job at Two Feathers.”

Burbank says he sees himself returning to the sidelines at some stage in the future, but that being a “head coach is a lot right now for me.”

He joined the Panthers after a stint as an assistant coach at St. Bernard’s, where he helped the Crusaders win a state championship in 2015.

And he says the players and people he met through coaching are what he’ll miss the most.

“I’ll definitely remember the relationships I made with the kids,” he said. “And the time the assistant coaches gave me, and the selflessness they give.”

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