August 18, 1930|
|Died||January 3, 2012
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Central Missouri State
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2009
B. Gene Bartow (August 18, 1930 – January 3, 2012) was an American men's college basketball coach. The Browning, Missouri, native coached 36 years at six universities after coaching two high schools in Missouri for six years. In 1972 Bartow coached the Puerto Rico national basketball team in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.
Bartow began his coaching at the prep level in Missouri, coaching Shelbina and St. Charles High School basketball squads to a 145–39 win-loss mark in six seasons. His 1957 St. Charles team won the state championship, defeating North Kansas City in the Class L finals by a score of 60–54.
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.
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.
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.
In 1989, Bartow was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, 10 years later, in 1999, Central Missouri State (now the University of Central Missouri) also elected him to theirs. Bartow was also voted one of Valparaiso University's 150 most influential people in October 2009.  Bartow was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City on November 22, 2009, along with fellow inductees Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Wayman Tisdale, Jud Heathcote, Walter Byers, Travis Grant and Bill Wall. In 2013, Bartow was selected for induction into the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Hall of Fame.
Bartow vs Bryant
Bartow's aggressiveness towards developing the UAB athletics program led to controversy. In 1991, Bartow wrote a letter to NCAA officials after four UAB transfers from the University of Alabama's Tuscaloosa campus reported NCAA violations that happened on the Tuscaloosa campus. The letter also charged Paul Bryant, Sr., the deceased football coach, with violations also. While the letter was later retracted, Bartow's letter brought the ire of the University of Alabama System's Board of Trustees, of which Bryant's son was a member. Also in 1991, the school had expanded to add football at the I-AA level, and moved to I-A in 1996.
The anger of the younger Bryant against Bartow was well-known, and it was said that Bryant, who later became Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the entire system, was intentionally sabotaging the Birmingham campus. In 2006, the Blazers' football program had plans to hire LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher as head coach. The Board of Trustees, led by Bryant, rejected the deal. In 2011, the Blazers had plans to build an on-campus stadium to replace aging Legion Field. That was rejected by the Board of Trustees. Bryant, who had to retire by 2015 because of policy that mandated retirement from the Board at 70, was said to have led a vendetta against Bartow's legacy. The Blazers dropped football at the end of the 2014 season, which many at the Birmingham campus attributed to the younger Bryant's vendetta against Bartow.
Head coaching record
|Central Missouri State Mules (Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1961–1964)|
|1961–62||Central Missouri State||16–6|
|1962–63||Central Missouri State||17–6|
|1963–64||Central Missouri State||14–9|
|Central Missouri State:||47–21|
|Valparaiso Crusaders (Indiana Collegiate Conference) (1964–1970)|
|1965–66||Valparaiso||18–10||7–5||4th||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1968–69||Valparaiso||16–12||4–4||T–2nd||NCAA 2nd Round|
|Memphis State Tigers (Missouri Valley Conference) (1970–1974)|
|1971–72||Memphis State||21–7||12-2||T–1st||NIT 1st Round|
|1972–73||Memphis State||24–6||12–2||1st||NCAA Runner-Up|
|Illinois Fighting Illini (Big Ten Conference) (1974–1975)|
|UCLA Bruins (Pacific-8 Conference) (1975–1977)|
|1975–76||UCLA||28–4†||13–1||1st||NCAA 3rd Place|
|1976–77||UCLA||24–5||11–3||1st||NCAA Sweet 16|
|UAB Blazers (Independent) (1978–1979)|
|UAB Blazers (Sun Belt Conference) (1979–1991)|
|1979–80||UAB||18–12||10–4||T–2nd||NIT 1st Round|
|1980–81||UAB||23–9||9–3||T–1st||NCAA Sweet 16|
|1981–82||UAB||25–6||9–1||1st||NCAA Elite 8|
|1982–83||UAB||19–14||9–5||3rd||NCAA 1st Round|
|1983–84||UAB||23–11||8–6||5th||NCAA 1st Round|
|1984–85||UAB||25–9||11–3||2nd||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1985–86||UAB||25–11||9–5||T–3rd||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1986–87||UAB||21–11||10–4||3rd||NCAA 1st Round|
|1988–89||UAB||22–12||8–6||4th||NIT Final Four|
|1989–90||UAB||22–9||12–2||1st||NCAA 1st Round|
|1990–91||UAB||18–13||9–5||2nd||NIT 1st Round|
|UAB Blazers (Great Midwest Conference) (1991–1995)|
|1991–92||UAB||20–9||4–6||5th||NIT 1st Round|
|1992–93||UAB||21–14||5–5||4th||NIT Final Four|
|1993–94||UAB||22–8||8–4||T–2nd||NCAA 1st Round|
|UAB Blazers (Conference USA) (1995–1996)|
National champion Postseason invitational champion
- 1974 USA Basketball
- 2011–12 Illinois Basketball Record Book.
- Moses, Sam. "Pursued By A Very Long Shadow," Sports Illustrated, November 17, 1975.
- Former UCLA coach Bartow named president of Grizzlies
- Central Missouri Hall of Fame
- MIAA Hall of Fame