OLATHE, Kan. — Following the KU National Championship win, loved ones of an Olathe football coach who died last year due to COVID-19, remember their favorite Jayhawk fan.
Chris Burnett wore many different hats: Loving husband, father, son, brother, coach and a KU fan.
Burnett played football at Olathe North High School. He eventually scored a coaching gig at Olathe East.
“Coach Cheese” sculpted hundreds of young lives over six years out on the field.
Unfortunately, that came to an end last year.
Burnett died due to COVID; he was only 34 years old.
That’s what makes this KU National Championship win bittersweet for mom Carolyn and Uncle Michael Fuel.
“I could hear him say, hey we’re going to the ship!” Carolyn said.
“If we would’ve gone to the championship in 2020, he would’ve been there to watch it with me,” Fuel said. “Sitting in a room by myself,
thinking of him, not being there to see this, to see the way they came back, the way they fought hard.”
As Burnett’s siblings rooted for the Jayhawks, they remembered their biggest cheerleader.
“He was my biggest fan,” brother Duncan Burnett said.
The 34-year-old leaves behind a loving wife and four children.
Burnett’s big sister Cierra Fuel said he was also a coach and father figure to her kids.
“It’s been really hard without him, especially like what they said with the game coming on. He’s a big sports fan and knowing that my kids are involved in a lot of athletics and things that he was always there for,” Cierra said. “Every time we go to a different activity, it’s like, I wish he was here. It’s been really hard on my kids, as well.”
Burnett helped running backs with the Kansas City Glory reach the top of their game.
“And what he did for the community is legendary, it’s amazing. I just look to continue the legacy and show that the Burnett’s are real. We coming here to change, show positive, show love, that God energy, and show people that you can really do it,” Duncan said. “That’s what my brother showed — You can do it.”
While the Jayhawks treasure their championship rings, Carolyn keeps one rings especially close to her heart. It’s an urn ring with her son’s ashes inside.
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