SHREVEPORT – A Friday evening visitation and Saturday morning funeral at Shreveport's Northwood High School will honor the life of Jerry Burton, an All-America safety for the Northwestern State football team in 1963 who became an outstanding high school football coach.
Burton, 73, died suddenly Wednesday morning, reportedly from heart-related complications. A visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Friday at Northwood, with the funeral service there at 10 Saturday morning.
He is in NSU’s Graduate N Club Hall of Fame, enshrined in 1981, and in 2007 was included on the roster of the Top 100 Demon Football Players of the Century, selected in conjunction with the Demons’ centennial in the sport.
The football stadium at Northwood is named for Burton, who was the head coach of the Falcons from 1983-97 and guided them to the state playoffs nine times in 15 seasons when only the top two teams in each district advanced to postseason play. Burton was Northwood’s athletic director until last year and also coached track and field at the school.
He won 104 games in 22 seasons as head coach at Northwood and Sheveport-Byrd high schools. With 81 victories at Northwood, he is the winningest coach in school history.
A four-year letterman and a three-year All-Gulf States Conference selection under coach Jack Clayton at Northwestern, Burton was an NFL Draft pick by the Los Angeles Rams.
He helped the 1962 Demons win the GSC championship. Also a standout running back who led Northwestern in rushing with 407 yards and a 4.5 average per carry as a senior, Burton was chosen both Best Defensive Back and Best Offensive Back for the Demons in 1963. He shared team Most Valuable Player honors with Sammy Joe Odom.
He won the team’s Best Defensive Back award in each of his last three seasons. He was also a track and field standout for Northwestern.