by Mitch Mason
Before Peter Burns (B.A. ’02) ascended among the most prominent personalities in college sports, he was searching for direction and guidance in the classrooms of St. Mary’s University.
The ESPN host and former St. Mary’s golfer has carved out an impressive career at the highest levels of broadcasting, hosting SEC Now on the SEC Network, SEC This Morning on Sirius XM Radio, and more since joining the SEC Network in 2014. Using his golf expertise, Burns has also led the coverage of the SEC’s Men’s and Women’s Golf Tournaments over the last several years.
Before Burns launched his professional career in radio and TV, he was contemplating a change in career path at St. Mary’s. After transferring from UTSA, Burns decided to move away from the sales industry and more toward covering sports as his career of choice.
“The writing and communication classes helped me find my focus and get my head on straight,” Burns said . “My business communication classes especially helped me refine those skills.”
Burns also credited the small class sizes, personal interactions with professors and the family-like atmosphere of St. Mary’s for helping launch him in the right direction.
“The school felt like family, you could put names with faces,” he said.
Burns played on the Rattler Golf team, winning his first collegiate golf tournament and finding community with the rest of the roster.
“Our team really bonded with each other. It was such a melting pot of guys from different countries, backgrounds and majors. We rallied around that and became one family,” he said.
After graduating from St. Mary’s, Burns launched a career in sports radio. From Denver to Atlanta, Burns has traveled the country and hosted several nationally syndicated shows. He has become one of the most respected sports personalities on air, making guest appearances on ESPN, Fox News, MSNBC and more.
Beneath a mountain of career success, Burns credits the education he received at St. Mary’s as the foundation.
“Had it not been for St. Mary’s, I wouldn’t have been prepared for my career. I had no idea what I really was going to do,” he said.
When asked what advice he would offer to current and future Rattlers, Burns was quick to home in on the value of communication.
“It is so valuable to learn how to be a concise communicator. Those English and Business classes prepared me for any situation,” he said. “Communicating well will help you in any field, whether you are a lawyer or working in business.”
Burns also commented on the intimidating task of preparing for job interviews, offering his most valuable tip: “Learn the business aspect of the industry and you will always learn how to get a job. Reverse engineer the industry and find the opportunities that you can take advantage of.”