Milburn Barton, the all-time leader in basketball victories at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, has announced his retirement as women’s basketball coach effective at the end of the academic year in June.
“They say there is a time and moment for everything, and I felt this was the right time for me and the program,” Barton said. “I have enjoyed every minute of my career and my association with the hundreds of young ladies I have coached throughout the years.
“I’ll miss the competition and the satisfaction that comes with coaching. The best part of it all was watching my players develop as people, graduate and be successful in life.”
Barton, a member of the school’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, coached the Lady Rangers for 27 seasons, compiling a record of 414-365.
“Coach Barton has been an important part of this university for more than 30 years and has been one of our greatest ambassadors,” said Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president. “He won a lot of games, but more importantly, he coached his players with respect and saw that they graduated. His presence will be missed, but we wish him nothing but the best in his retirement.”
Barton, who graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1970, arrived at Northwestern in 1977 after coaching boys and girls basketball, and serving as principal at Ames High School for seven years.
During his first season at Northwestern, he was an assistant coach for the men’s team. The following season, in 1978, he earned his master’s in education and was appointed as the head coach of the women’s program.
He stepped away from coaching in 1998 to become athletic director but returned to the bench in 2004.
During his tenure as head coach, Barton led the Lady Rangers to three trips to the NAIA National Tournament and captured two conference titles. Barton produced four All-Americans and was named the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference Women’s Coach of the Year three times.
He is responsible for Northwestern’s best season ever when his 1980-81 team was ranked No. 1 in the nation and compiled a 24-2 record. During that season, Northwestern defeated three NCAA Division I teams - Wichita State University, Oklahoma State University and Oral Roberts University.
Athletic Director Bob Battisti said the school will immediately begin a search for Barton’s replacement with hopes of naming a new coach quickly.
Tue, March 22, 2011
by Ryan Hintergardt