July 5, 1942 – July 10, 2016
Robert L. Burnside, of Hamburg, was a math teacher and baseball coach in the Eden Central School District. He died Sunday in Absolut Care of Orchard Park after a battle with cancer. He was 74.
Born in Gowanda, he was a 1959 graduate of North Collins High School, where he played outfield and third base on the baseball team and guard on the basketball team. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University at Buffalo in 1964.
Mr. Burnside joined the Eden Schools faculty in 1964 and taught math in Eden Middle School and Eden High School. He retired in 2000.
A nominee for the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, he headed the varsity baseball program at Eden High School for 33 years and was known for the innovative ideas he brought back from regular coaching seminars.
He led the Raiders to a record of 414 wins and 242 losses, capturing 17 Erie County Interscholastic Conference titles and two sectional titles.
After turning the program over to former player and assistant coach Eric Cooper in 2003, he continued for 12 more years as mentor, associate coach and financial supporter. He purchased uniforms and pitching machines for the team.
He coached the Eden girls’ basketball team for 17 years, winning five divisional championships and a sectional title.
He also coached girls’ baseball and was the longtime statistician for Eden High School’s football program.
In 2015, Eden Central’s athletic department named the varsity baseball complex “Coach Burnside Field” in his honor, and renamed its service award as the Robert Burnside Dedication Award.
Mr. Burnside also umpired for many years and coached teams in the former Quad County Baseball Association, the County of Erie Baseball Association and the American Legion Baseball League.
Survivors include a sister, Donna Rapp.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in Eden United Methodist Church, 2820 E. Church St., Eden.