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Burton Enshrined Into Wetzel County Museum’s Hall of Fame

October 10, 2018
Wetzel Chronicle

Bob Burton, former Paden City High School coach and athletic director, was honored on Saturday, Sept. 29 as the Wetzel County Museum inducted him into the museum's Hall of Fame.

Four of Coach Burton's ex-players spoke about their experiences and friendship with Burton, and most had a story or two to tell. Coach Burton told of his teaching and coaching experiences at the small Wetzel County school. He gave a stirring speech that was not only serious, but often humorous. He mentioned coming to Paden City High School in 1962 when he was informed of a history teacher and assistant coaching position that was open. He said he applied and got the job, and the rest is history.

Burton spoke about the years as an assistant football coach under Henry Healy and said, "I followed him around like a puppy dog." He praised Healy, who he said thought him many good things. "And some bad things," he added, which brought a laugh from the crowd.

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Most of Coach Burton's fame comes from his knowledge and skill as a basketball coach, although he mentioned with modesty that it was not him that made it happen but each one of his players. He said he was lucky to have had great athletes. His teams made it to the state tournament eight times in his career, winning two titles and making state runner-up twice.

Burton talked briefly about his runs in the state basketball tournament. He noted one of his teams had lost 13 games in a row and went into the post season with a 6-14 record. They never gave up and went through the tournament, making it to the championship game where they fell to a great Mullens High School team led by Herbie Brooks, who later starred at WVU.

Burton then shared a' story about the 1973 state championship team getting to Charleston and finding out the hotel they had booked had no rooms. He said they stayed with a player's aunt in St Albans and some of the local neighbors. The mayor of St. Albans adopted the team as the city's own team for the event. The Wildcats then went through the tournament, winning over a good Oakvale High School team. Burton said his team was down heading into the fourth quarter by 13 points when Randy Slider, one of his star players, asked him if it was time to start playing. Burton said, "I told him yes I think it is, and we took a last minute lead and held on to win."

The former coach's 1987 team went through the season and into the state tournament undefeated, and at 26-0, was pitted against Bramwell - another 26-0 team - in the championship game. "They had a great team, but we did too, and when we got the lead mid-way through the fourth quarter, we called time-out and went to a delayed game where our point guard would hold the ball. When they came after him he would penetrate the lane and get fouled or dish off to our big guys."

"We won that game with great foul shooting," he added.

Burton spoke about his parents and how he was raised; he said his mother once told him to not only talk like a Christian, but to walk like one as well. He offered the same advice to those in attendance. "We need more people like that today." Burton gave a lot of credit to his assistant coaches over the years and mostly to his wife Sharon, who he called coach on one occasion during his speech.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony brought a great crowd, and many in attendance were Burton's neighbors, friends, ex-teammates and ex-player - one who flew 800 miles to celebrate the event with his coach. Also present and introduced to the crowd by Coach Burton was his daughter, Trisha, son-in-law and grandson.

Coach Burton, who has now been inducted in to four hall of fames: the OVAC - the largest high school athletic conference in the country, the Magnolia High School, The Knights of Columbus, plus the museum's.

Nearly everyone who spoke about Coach Burton mentioned him not only as a special coach, but a special history teacher and physical education teacher. Many stories were exchanged, and many congratulations were handed out to one of the area's best ever. Congratulations were certainly in order.



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