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On Monday, San Diego State women’s basketball head coach Beth Burns laid out the welcome mat for newly (re)hired men’s assistant coach Justin Hutson.

“Welcome home Coach Hut; let’s win more ‘Ships and Cut Down Nets!! @GoAztecs,” she tweeted from her @coachbethburns Twitter account.

Less than 24 hours later, SDSU announced Burns’ retirement.

“My 16 years at San Diego State University have been remarkable,” Burns said in a press release. “I am so appreciative of the many people who have supported our program throughout this time.”

The release gave no indication of why Burns was retiring.

Burns is the most successful coach in Aztec women’s basketball history, with a 295-186 overall record in two eight-year stints at SDSU. She led the Aztecs to six regular-season conference championships and four league tournament titles. SDSU also qualified for the NCAA tournament seven times during Burns’ tenure, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2010.

The Aztecs won their conference regular-season title this past season with a 27-7 record. Burns was named Mountain West coach of the year, the sixth time she had been so honored.

Burns signed a new five-year contract before last season, making the retirement seem all the more inexplicable.

NBC San Diego sports anchor Jim Laslavic termed the lack of an explanation from the SDSU Athletic Department a “cone of silence.”

U-T San Diego beat writer Mark Zeigler described it as a “sudden, unexpected, even bizarre announcement.”

“The lack of meaningful explanation or a news conference involving the affable, articulate, accessible Burns fueled speculation about the terms of her departure,” Zeigler wrote. “Is it health related or for other personal reasons? Did she quit on principle after a disagreement with university superiors? Or was the popular coach pushed out due to impending NCAA violations or a major disciplinary issue?”

That laundry list of possible explanations has yet to elicit any further information from Montezuma Mesa.

Beau Lynott is a contributor to Voice of San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @lemonverbena_ or email

Beau Lynott

Beau Lynott is a contributor to Voice of San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @lemonverbena_ or email

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