Lyle Barton has a simple answer when asked why he became a track and field coach more than two decades ago. “I was a former athlete and I never had any coaching to help me get to that next level,” he said. “That always bothered me. I always felt that if I would ever get the chance, I’d jump at the opportunity.”
Good thing. Barton, who has been Cuyamaca College’s pole vault and decathlon coach the past 14 years, was recently selected as the 2014 Assistant Coach of the Year for Men’s Track and Field by the California Community College Cross Country and Track Coaches Association.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized by your peers,” Barton said. “It really means a lot to me.”
Barton has found success everywhere he’s coached, which includes West Hills, Grossmont, El Capitan, and El Cajon high schools and Cuyamaca College. One of the first athletes he coached at Cuyamaca, Brian McLaughlin, still holds the school record with a vault of 16 feet, 10 and ¾ inches and later had a successful run at UCLA. At El Capitan High School, Barton led the boys’ and girls’ pole vault teams to the CIF Division 2 championships two consecutive years each.