Paul Deaton began coaching at Berry as an assistant women's running coach in the fall of 1991, working with Dr. Bob Pearson. He was named the head coach of the men's cross country and track teams in the fall of 1992, and head coach of the women's cross country and track team in the fall of 1996. He now serves as the head men's and women's cross country coach and the primary assistant to the track and field squads.
Deaton led the programs through the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division III. Early in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) era, he helped a pair of runners to All-Region honors and sent one to nationals. Since then, he has coached more than 29 All-SAA runners in men's and women's cross country alone and 90 SAA Academic Honor Roll honorees.
In 2017, the women's cross country squad had one of their most successful seasons in the Division III era, placing third in the SAA Championship and placing seventh at the NCAA Regional Championship. Both Alainna Chretien and Abby Carroll earned spots to race in the NCAA Championship, the first duo to race in the meet in program history.
Deaton was also named the league's Coach of the Year following a successful 2016 campaign as well. Danielle Patterson represented Berry as the first female Viking to compete at the NCAA Championship after earning All-Region honors that same season. Prior to Patterson, Deaton coached Ryan James to a nationals appearance in 2013.
Deaton coached Berry for 18 years in the NAIA. During that time, Deaton coached 15 All-Americans to a total of 43 All-American awards in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. He has also made demands of his athletes in the classroom, where 24 of Deaton's runners have earned NAIA Academic awards a total of 63 times. Deaton was named the Conference Coach of the Year 12 times, NAIA Regional Coach of the Year 12 times, and State Coach of the Year four times.
The Berry men's cross country team has been selected to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team list each year since 2013 with the women's team earning recognition in three of the last four seasons, a main part of Deaton's coaching philosophy.
Deaton is originally from Athens, Ga., where he attended Athens Academy where he won three GHSA state championships. A graduate of Berry College, Deaton earned All-American honors in the men's marathon at the 1991 NAIA Outdoor Track National Championships. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Berry, and his Master¹s degree in exercise science from Georgia State University.
He continued to compete after college including three Atlanta Marathon wins in 1997, 1998, and 2000. More recently he has enjoyed competing with the National Champion Atlanta Track Club Masters (40 and over) division USATF Club Cross Country team.
Deaton is a founding member of the Go Go Running club locally in Rome and maintains memberships in the Atlanta Track Club, the USTCCCA and the USATF. In addition to hosting quality collegiate cross country competitions on the Berry campus, he hosts post collegiate, high school, middle school and elementary school races on campus including the annual Berry College Clara Bowl.
He is married to the former Jody Carey of Lexington, Ga. Jody has an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and a graduate degree from Berry College in education. They have two sons, Jared and John Prosser.