This archived article was written by: Jasmine Petit
A candlelight vigil in memory of Coach Brad Barton was held on Oct. 10, to honor his family, pay final respects and give closure to the campus and community. The vigil was held on USU Eastern’s campus in the library pit.
Before the vigil began, radio interviews of Barton on KOAL AM 750, were played from Jordan Buscarini. He was talking about his team from the past season and this years team. There were a few funny moments during the interviews with Barton, when he told who the best and the worst dressed players of his team from the past year.
Thomas Garvin, student body president of USU-Eastern, was the master of ceremonies and the first to speak. He talked of the many life lessons Barton taught those he befriended. One lesson that really stuck with Garvin was one of no excuses. It did not matter what had happened, there was no excuse for not completing the job you were asked to do.
Buscarini, sports director for Castle Country radio, gave a couple remarks about his interactions with Barton after he was appointed interim coach and head coach for the Eagles.
Buscarini said, “I have had the pleasure of interviewing several professional basketball coaches such as Phil Jackson, Rick Carlisle, Keith Smart….. I say this with total honesty, Brad was intellectually on their level. He knew the games of basketball through and through. Anytime coach talked, there was no doubt I was listening and absorbing what he was saying.”
“One of my first interviews with coach, we were doing a segment to get to know him a little better, more of a personality interview. I asked coach what his favorite song was and without hesitation he replied “The Star Spangled Banner,” That alone tells you that his priorities were straight and that this was without question a person you would want to lead a young man.”
Buscarini continued, “Like I’ve said so many times, we lost a great coach, but an even better man. He was a great teacher, and of course, friend. The two rarely tie in together, I suppose that is why we call him coach.”
Barton was then named the inaugural recepient of the Legacy Award, the award was for the hard work he had done not only for his players but for the students of USU-Eastern, “ he always did more then you asked him too,” said Caitlin Nelson, women’s basketball player.
Barton’s parents accepted the award for him and gave a few words of hope for his players. “ He loved you so much, he would always talk about all the great things he got to do with you boys,” said his mother Pam. “The outpouring of love is amazing, but I would give it all back to have a little more time with him,” She told the story about the last weekend before he died, how he showed up early Saturday morning to spent time with his parents, siblings and played basketball with is nieces and nephews.
His father talked about when he got to take Brad to North Carolina to research genealogy on Michael Jordan’s ancestors and his former college. He also traveled to Chicago, Ill. to visit the Chicago Bull’s stadium.
McKay LaSalle was the representative from the men’s team and he said, “Coach Brad never married, but basketball was his wife and we (men’s basketball team) were his kids.”
“On the court he was stingy and fierce, off the court he was the most loving person and he had the biggest heart.” “Coach Brad used to say if you need anything at all just give me a shout.”
“ It’s unbelievable in 31 years, all the peoples lives he touched, all the hearts he burrowed into and will stay in forever. Coach had and unmatchable mind, he had knowledge on many subjects. Any conversation you had with him there is no doubt in my mind you became wiser and learned to think a little deeper on the subject and on life,” LaSalle continued to say, “He could sum up the confidence of a god, when he believed in something he found a way to make the others around him believe the same. Coach loved better than anyone. The way he would speak of his family, or as he would call them, the one guarantee in his life.”
“ Coach loved what it says in John 15:13 which reads – greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” LaSalle finished.
Last to speak was athletic director and head women’s basketball coach, David Paur, who told of both he and Barton being history buffs. He read a letter written by Solomon a colonel in the Union Army. Solomon wrote a letter to his wife and kids telling them of his death that he knew was coming, in the letter Solomon said, “ Whenever you feel a breeze that comes out of nowhere, know that it is me.”
Coach Paur closed by saying, “So to you, his family, I say whenever you feel a breeze that comes from nowhere, know that it is Brad and that he loves you and is watching over you.”