Former UCLA Coach Bartow Named Grizzlies President
By Bruin Basketball Report
Former UCLA Head Coach Gene Bartow, 77, was hired Thursday as president of Hoops LP, the company that operates the Memphis Grizzlies and their arena, the FedExForum.
Bartow will forever be known as the man who succeeded Coach John Wooden at UCLA. Bartow compiled a 52-9 (.852) coaching record in two seasons and led the Bruins to the Final Four in 1976.
However, after losing in the first round of the West Regionals to Idaho St. in 1977, he found the pressure of following such a legendary figure too difficult to handle and resigned.
After UCLA, Bartow went to UAB and helped create the athletic program and served as the school's first head basketball coach and athletic director. In 1997 UAB named its basketball venue Bartow Arena in his honor
Bartow has been a special adviser to the Grizzlies since the team relocated to Memphis in 2001.
“I am pleased with the confidence shown in me by Mike Heisley and
excited about the opportunity, Bartow said. “I am optimistic about
facing the challenge with General Manager Chris Wallace, Head Coach
Marc Iavaroni and President of Business Operations Andy Dolich. When
Mark and Chris were appointed I felt that Grizzlies fans were in for
some exciting times. I have watched what they have already done since
joining us, which has only increased my optimism about the future. I am
honored by the opportunity Michael Heisley has given me to serve the
Earlier in his career Bartow had coaching stints at Central Missouri University and Valparaiso. In 1973 he was named NCAA Coach of Year after leading Memphis State (now University of Memphis) to the Final Four championship game against UCLA. Bartow then coached at Illinois (8-18) for a single season in 1974 before moving westward to coach at UCLA.
(photo credit: Master Coaches)