This archived article was written by: Shala Pitchforth
“We all have greatness in us; we just need to find it” There are monumental people who inspire, lead by example, motivate, and dedicate their lives into the service of others. College of Eastern Utah’s Assistant Coach Brad Barton is one of those people. As the clock ran down its final minutes at Saturday night’s championship game between the CEU Eagles and Northern Idaho Cardinals, Barton’s face glowed with pride. He sat in anticipation, his fist clenched in the air in celebration.
A basketball team like CEU’s this year could not be successful without its coaches; they are the foundation of strength. The men have the upmost respect for Coach Barton and it was apparent in their hugs of celebration after they finished victorious.
Barton expressed how much he loves basketball. He said he has always known that he wanted to play as long as he could and coach until he died at the young age of 7. “Basketball in my number-one passion.” He played basketball at Davis High School in Farmington, Utah. After graduating, he played two years at BYU Hawaii, a Division II school. Barton transferred to Weber State University and finished his four-year college basketball career at the D-I school. “As a player I was very ambitious and set high goals. I always wanted to be a division-one player and I achieved this,” said Barton. His playing career did not end here as he played professional European ball for a year in Switzerland.
He said he has many fine memories of basketball. As a player his favorite memory was cutting down the nets after WSU won its conference championship in 2003 after an undefeated conference season. As a coach, one of his fondest moments was when his sophomore team at Viewmont High School won its region championship. He said, “though this may not seem like that big of a deal, it was incredible for the kids and was great to be a part of.” Saturday night [March 6] definitely tops the list for his favorite memories as an assistant coach. Barton also articulated how the best thing about being a coach is the opportunity to associate with different people and personalities. “Every year there are new people, new personalities, and new friends.”
Apart from basketball, he loves many sports, especially outdoors. Barton was excited that he was able to golf with his brother a few weeks ago, because he loves being active in the outdoors. Camping, fishing and hiking are all passions he loves to do outside of the basketball court.
Barton is the youngest of five, as he has two older brothers and two older sisters. His parents reside in Farmington, Utah, and support him whenever they can and attend most of his games. “I’m the black sheep of my family but they still love me,” he said.
On Friday, March 5, the day CEU played SLCC in the semi-final game, Coach Barton celebrated his 30 birthday. He said that it is the worst age to turn, “I never imagined myself as 30, 40 to me would be an accomplishment, but I never thought about 30.”
Coaching is about the people said Barton. Though he said it is about the game, it’s more important to support and celebrate the people. He plans to coach for the rest of his life, and says that the level of basketball doesn’t matter. From high school to D-1 college ball, the hoops are still the same. “It’s about the people you surround yourself with,” he said. He then expressed how it has been an absolute privilege to coach with CEU’s Coach Chris Craig, head men’s basketball coach.
He gives advice to all young athletes who want to play college basketball, and possible professional. “Believe in yourself. As a coach I would like to inspire young athletes to believe in themselves. So many times kids get caught up in their faults. I don’t know if this is because of parents, coaches, or so much peer pressure that surrounds them, but if I could say one thing to them it would be to always believe in themselves. We all have greatness in us; we just need to find it.”