Gene Bartow (Gene Bartow)

Gene Bartow

Gene Bartow coached at Central Missouri State University from 1961 to 1964, Valparaiso University from 1964 to 1970, and Memphis State University from 1970 until 1974, and he led the Memphis State Tigers to the 1973 NCAA national championship game and consecutive Missouri Valley Conference titles in the 1971–72 and 1972–73 seasons. He coached the US national team in the 1974 FIBA World Championship, winning the bronze medal. Bartow signed a five-year contract to replace Harv Schmidt at the University of Illinois in 1974. A last-place team the previous campaign, the Fighting Illini finished tied for ninth in the Big Ten at 8–18 (4–14 in the conference) in 1975, Bartow’s only season there. Despite this, he was the first Illini coach to extensively recruit talented African American high school players from the Chicago area. He was succeeded by Lou Henson. Gene Bartow left his position to succeed John Wooden as the head coach of UCLA. Bartow coached at UCLA from 1975 to 1977, guiding them to a 52–9 record, including a berth in the 1976 Final Four. He coached the 1977 College Player of the Year, Marques Johnson. As of 2008, he is the second winningest coach at UCLA by percentage of wins to losses at .852, putting him behind Gary Cunningham at .862 and above John Wooden at .808.

Gene Bartow left UCLA after the 1977 season to take over the job of creating an athletic program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, more commonly known as UAB. He served as the school’s first head basketball coach and athletic director for 18 years. Bartow led UAB to the NIT in the program’s second year of existence, and followed that up with seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including trips to the Sweet 16 in 1981 and the Elite Eight in 1982. Bartow retired from coaching in 1996, and in 1997, UAB renamed its basketball venue, Bartow Arena, in his honor. His son Murry, a UAB assistant, became the coach upon Bartow’s retirement; Bartow was later president of Hoops, LP, the company that runs the Memphis Grizzlies and the FedEx Forum. On April 15, 2009, a UAB spokesman revealed that Bartow had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. On January 3, 2012, Gene Bartow died at his home in Birmingham after a two-year battle with the disease.

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  • August, 18, 1930
  • USA
  • Browning, Missouri


  • January, 03, 2012
  • USA
  • Birmingham, Alabama

Cause of Death

  • stomach cancer


  • Southern Heritage Cemetery
  • Pelham, Alabama
  • USA

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