Burnham was involved in all aspects of running a Division I swim program while at UCLA. He assisted in technique development and race strategy while also overseeing daily workouts, overall season planning, budgeting and recruiting. During his six years at UCLA, Burnham helped the Bruins finish no worse than 16th place at the NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships. During his time at UCLA, Burnham worked with over 40 All-Americans.
Before joining UCLA, Burnham received his Master's in Exercise Physiology from Colorado State University. While earning his degree, Burnham also worked as a graduate assistant swim coach and a graduate teaching assistant in his field. During the summer, Burnham worked at the prestigious Stanford Swim Camp as a counselor and coach.
During his coaching career, Burnham has worked with two Olympic swimmers. While at Colorado State, he helped train Amy Van Dyken, who earned four gold medals at the 1996 games in Atlanta. At UCLA, he worked with Annette Salmeen, who also won a gold medal at Atlanta.
Burnham graduated from the University of Maine in 1992 with a Bachelor's of Science in Physical Education and Health Fitness. A Dean's List student, Burnham was the captain of the Black Bears' swim team his senior year.