Dieter Horton begins his fourth season at USC and first as Special Assistant to the Head Coach. Horton was originally hired by the Trojans on April 8, 2010 and served as an assistant coach for three seasons. He has become a vital component of the program as has greatly aided the transition to the leadership of Andy Enfield. Horton has been a key member of the Trojans' coaching staff the past three seasons and in his new role will be able to utilize his expertise and experience of working at USC to help the new staff establish a national program.
Horton, 43, spent the previous four years (2007-10) at Antelope Valley College, where he went 98-46 (.680) and reached the 2007 state championship final, the school's first in 51 years. The Marauders went 32-6 in 2007, a school record for wins. His 2008 team won the Foothill Conference crown while going 25-11. While at Antelope Valley, eight of his former players received Division I scholarships.
Horton was at Fullerton College for 10 seasons (1997-2006), posting a 198-124 (.615) record. Thirty-five of his Fullerton players signed with Division I schools, including an additional 18 with NCAA Division II and NAIA programs. In 2006, Fullerton went 37-0 (the most wins in California junior college history) en route to winning the state championship and an Orange Empire Conference title. It was just the fourth time that a California junior college team had a perfect record (among the other coaches to have done so were Jerry Tarkanian, Bill Mulligan and Vance Walberg). Horton ran the streak to a California Junior College record of 50 consecutive games, breaking the old mark of 42 set by Bill Bertka in 1962.
In his first two seasons at Fullerton, he guided the Hornets to consecutive second place finishes in the Orange Empire Conference, regarded as one of the most competitive conferences in the state. Before Horton took over in the 1996-97 seasons, the Hornets had not finished as high as second place since the 1981-82 season. Horton has been recognized 3 times as conference coach of the year and was the 2006 State Coach of the Year.
During his 14 year Head Coaching career, Horton made the post season every year. In 2011, the former Junior College Head Coach was recognized by Basketball Times Magazine as one of the best future NCAA Division 1 Head Coaches in America.
"While I was a head coach, the major focus of my program was always to help our players mature, learn accountability and graduate, which is the same here," said Horton. "If we accomplish these things, the athletes will be better students, better players and better people. The major lessons we as coaches teach our kids have nothing to do with basketball...they have to do with life."
Horton graduated from CS Fullerton in 1994 with a degree in Kinesiology and received a Masters in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1996. He spent two years as the student manager for the Titan's basketball team and another as the program's administrative assistant. Before that, he worked as an assistant at Villa Park High (Calif.) and Fullerton High (Calif.).
Horton played basketball at Fullerton High. He is married and his wife's name is Chelsie. He has a son, Charles, who is nine and a one-year old daughter, Ellie.