WSU community mourns passing of Brad Barton

The Weber State community is mourning former Wildcat basketball player Brad Barton, who passed away unexpectedly and was found Tuesday.

Barton’s funeral will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. the Dee Events Center. See the end of this blog for times and details of the viewings.

Here is the story I put together on Barton for Wednesday’s Standard-Examiner, including his coach’s memories of him:

“Brad was kind of a one-in-a-million person and player,” former Weber State coach Joe Cravens said Tuesday night. “He played for me on a team that went undefeated in (the Big Sky Conference in 2002-03). He was kind of the heart and soul of that team. He wasn’t the star but he was the guy that kind of made that team go. He was the most compettitve, compassionate player I think I’ve ever coached.”

Standard sports columnist Jim Burton has reposted this 2010 column about Barton, sharing his memories of Brad as a WSU player after he was named the interim head coach at USU Eastern (CEU):

The idea that Barton is teaching kids how to play the game is a pleasant one. See, he played the game the right away.

He didn’t have all the raw ability in the world, but he had an incredible love for the game, like an unquenchable thirst. While the others with more natural talent were out there doing their thing with a bit more grace and athleticism, Barton was out there doing it with guts and guile.

More often than not, Brad won.

Something tells me the kids at CEU will win more often than they don’t.

Barton was officially given the USU Eastern job this June.

Weber State’s athletics department also memorialized Barton, including a comment from Carl Arky, the radio voice of the Wildcats:

Weber State Athletics notes the passing of former Wildcat men’s basketball standout Brad Barton who passed away Tuesday in Price, Utah.

Barton, 31, became the head basketball coach at USU Eastern in June after serving as interim head coach last season and guiding the Golden Eagles to a 23-7 record. He had previously been an assistant coach at USU Eastern and at Snow College in 2006-07.

Brad played two seasons at Weber State in 2001-02 and 2002-03. He led the Big Sky Conference in assist-to-turnover ratio both seasons at Weber State. He averaged 3.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in 60 career games with the Wildcats. He was the team captain his senior season and became a team leader with his tenacious play on both ends of the court. He earned Big Sky All-Conference Honorable Mention honors as a senior in 2002-03. That season he played in all 32 games and started 11 games and helped lead the Wildcats to a 26-5 overall record, including a perfect 14-0 record in Big Sky play and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. That team included Big Sky MVP Jermaine Boyette, Solobodan Ocokoljic, John Hamilton, Nic Sparrow, and Pat Danley.

One highlight came in December 2001 when he knocked down a 21-foot floating jumper at the buzzer to give Weber State a 67-64 home win over in-state rival Utah State, capping a 20-point comeback by the Wildcats.

“Brad was kind of a one-in-a-million person and player,” former Weber State head coach Joe Cravens told the Standard-Examiner. “He played for me on a team that went undefeated in (the Big Sky Conference in 2002-03). He was kind of the heart and soul of that team. He wasn’t the star but he was the guy that kind of made that team go. He was the most competitive, compassionate player I think I’ve coached.”

“Brad was one of my all-time favorite players,” said longtime Weber State broadcaster Carl Arky. “No one ever hustled more and gave more of himself than Brad. And he did it despite the fact he was diabetic. He was one of the most inspirational players I’ve ever been around. Battled diabetes, battled on the court, and always had a great attitude about the game…and life.”

He played high school basketball at Davis High School and then played two seasons at BYU-Hawaii before transferring to Weber State.

An opposing coach offered his condolences to Barton’s family in the Times-News of Twin Falls:

“I’m just shocked right now,” said College of Southern Idaho head coach Steve Gosar. “Just shocked. My heart goes out to his family, friends and CEU. It’s a very difficult time for them right now. When you have a team, there’s such a great relationship between players and coaches, a deep relationship. Something like this is very, very hard to overcome.”

CSI athletics director Joel Bate also remembered Barton:

“I watched him as an assistant at Snow and also as an assistant at CEU and was aware of his background as a pro player,” said CSI athletic director Joel Bate. “He was a very bright, talented young man that rose up so quickly because he was a talented young man. CEU and the league lost a good young coach.”

Dozens have left tributes to Brad Barton on his Facebook page, where Bret Barton posted the following:

Thanks for the beautiful thoughts, prayers and tributes to the world’s greatest son, brother, cousin, uncle and friend. Brad has been blessed to know so many wonderful people. Here is the funeral information for any and all who would like to come:

Viewing – Friday, October 7th from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at Russon Brothers Mortuary in Farmington

Viewing – Saturday, October 8th from 9:00 am – 10:30 am at the Dee Event Center in Ogden (WSU)

Funeral – Saturday, October 8th – 11:00 am at the Dee Event Center in Ogden (WSU)

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