Burton takes pride in upgraded contract

The Titans extended their possibilities for a bright future on March 29 as Cal State Fullerton men's basketball Head Coach Bob Burton signed to a contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2009-10 season.

"I didn't have to think about it very long because I knew Cal State Fullerton is really where I want to be," Bob Burton said. "I came here to try and get this program up and running. We had a great year and I think the next few years are going to be even better. I'm excited about being back at Cal State Fullerton. It was a really easy decision."

Loyola Marymount aggressively pursued Burton and apparently made him a generous offer before he agreed to the extension on his original four-year deal with Fullerton, which included pay raises for his entire staff.

"The fact that Loyola had a real interest in me and other schools shows what a great year that we had," Burton said. "I think it was great the way our school stepped up here and really made a commitment to myself and our coaches."

After completing only his second season as the Titans coach, Burton led Fullerton to its second most successful season in team history.

The Titans finished with the best record among Southern California Division I schools at 21-11, which included Fullerton's first two victories in the postseason National Invitation Tournament.

The Titans had their best season in the last 20 years after finishing the regular season in third place in the Big West with a 12-6 record.

Burton ended Fullerton's five-game losing streak in the Big West Tournament as he guided the Titans to a quarterfinal victory, which was their first win in the tournament since 1998.

Burton also helped the Titans post their first winning road record (9-7) since the school joined the Division I ranks in 1974.

This year's squad was also Fullerton's first Division I team to capture three consecutive victories on the road while having no home games to interrupt the streak.

Burton posted an 11-17 record in his first season, but after this season's successful turnaround, he now has a 32-28 career record as Fullerton's head coach.

"I really didn't want to leave after these two years I spent here," Burton said. "And I hope I can spend a lot of years at Fullerton. I came to Cal State Fullerton to get the program going and I think we made a good step in that direction and I want to do everything I can to keep it going that way."

And although the Titans lose their highly productive senior forwards Yaphett King and Ralphy Holmes, Fullerton will still have the services of Bobby Brown, Jermaine Harper and Jamaal Brown to go along with a large recruiting class in the 2005-06 season.

"The future looks real good," King said. "They got a good nucleus coming back and coach has good recruits coming in. Now people can be proud to say they were a Cal State Fullerton Titan."

The Titans also plan to hire Marlon Morton, an assistant at Los Angeles Westchester High, the school that produced Bobby Brown and two promising recruits in Gerard Moret and Jerrel Lake.

"I knew Coach [Burton] was coming back," Bobby Brown said. "I wouldn't want to play for another coach. We have a lot of young talent coming in and I'm excited for next season. I think we're going to do way better next year. I think we'll win the Big West Conference."