After earning his degrees, Burton bounced spent the next three years bouncing around, as an assistant coach at Cal Poly, Leigh High School in San Jose, and Westmont High School in Campbell. In 1972, took the head coaching job at Willow Glen High School in San Jose, compiling a 143-52 record in eight seasons there.
Burton left Willow Glen in 1980 to become head coach at West Valley College in Saratoga. Burton spent the 1986-87 season as an assistant coach on a Utah team which reached the NIT, but returned to West Valley the next year.
In all, he spent 21 years as head coach of West Valley, compiling a record of 488-158. Under Burton, West Valley reached won their conference eight times and reached the state championship three times. Burton was coach of the Year for his conference nine times, and for the entire state of California four times. He had only two losing seasons.
Burton left West Valley for good in 2002, to be an assistant coach under Ray Lopes at Fresno State. He was inducted to the California Community Colleges Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004.
The Titans struggled throughout Burton's first year, even with Pape Sow, who would go on to the NBA and Bobby Brown, who would become the Titans' all-time leading scorer. They compiled an 11-17 record.
The 2004-05 season was much better, as Burton's squad went 21-11 and reached the third round of the NIT.
The next year, the team finished a disappointing 16-13, but they rebounded in 2006-07 for a 20-10 season, marking the first time since 1985 that the Titans had three consecutive winning seasons.
Fullerton won the Big West Conference in 2008, tying Santa Barbara and Northridge at 12-4 in the regular season, but winning the conference tournament. The Titans made the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Burton, losing to Wisconsin as a 14-seed.