Tommy Bartlett (basketball)

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Tommy Bartlett
Bartlett in coat and tie, taken during game
Bartlett from 1967 Seminole yearbook
Sport(s) Basketball, tennis
Biographical details
Born (1928-06-06)June 6, 1928
Homerville, Georgia
Died October 19, 2016(2016-10-19) (aged 88)
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Playing career
1950–1952 Tennessee
Position(s) Guard (basketball)
Singles & doubles (tennis)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1953–1957 Lenoir City HS
1957–1958 Carson–Newman
1958–1962 Chattanooga
1962–1966 Tennessee (Asst.)
1966–1973 Florida
1962–1966 Tennessee
1979–1990 Chattanooga
Head coaching record
Overall 168–130 (.564) (Basketball)
Accomplishments and honors
SEC Men's Tennis (1966)
SoCon Men's Tennis (1980–1985, 1988, 1989)
SoCon Women's Tennis (1984–1986, 1988, 1990)
NCAA Division II Women's Tennis (1983–1985)
SoCon Men's Tennis Coach of the Year
(1980–1983, 1985, 1988, 1989)
SoCon Women's Tennis Coach of the Year
(1986, 1990)

Thomas George "Tommy" Bartlett (June 6, 1928 – October 19, 2016) was an American college basketball and tennis player, as well as a college basketball and tennis head coach. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Bartlett served as the men's basketball head coach for Carson-Newman College, the University of Chattanooga (now the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga), and the University of Florida, and also as the men's tennis head coach at the University of Tennessee and UT-Chattanooga.

Early life and playing career[edit]

Bartlett was born in Homerville, Georgia[1] and graduated from Knoxville High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he played for the Tennessee Volunteers basketball team from 1949 to 1952 and the Volunteers men's tennis team from 1950 to 1952. In basketball, he was a three-year varsity letterman, team captain, and an All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection at guard as a senior; in tennis, he was a three-year letterman, a two-year starter, and the team captain and an All-SEC selection as a senior. Memorably, Bartlett was undefeated in three seasons on the Volunteers varsity men's tennis team, and won SEC singles tennis championships at No. 6 in 1950, No. 5 in 1951, and No. 3 in 1952, and SEC doubles championships at No. 3 in 1950 and 1951, and No. 2 in 1952. As a senior, Bartlett and was also the third-ranked college basketball player in the percentage of foul shots completed (80.2%), and led the Vols to their first-ever SEC team championship in men's tennis.[2] He graduated from Tennessee in 1952.[2]

Coaching career[edit]

Bartlett began his coaching career at Lenoir City High School in Lenoir City, Tennessee in 1953. In four seasons as the Lenoir City Panthers head coach, he compiled an overall win-loss record of 97–20, and led the Panthers to the state high school championship semifinal game before losing to Kingsport High School in 1957.[3]

He subsequently served as the head basketball coach for Carson-Newman College in 1957–1958, and the University of Chattanooga from 1958 to 1962. In 1962, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, as an assistant basketball coach under Ray Mears. In 1963, while continuing as a Volunteers basketball assistant, he also became the head coach of the Volunteers men's tennis team. In 1966, he led the Vols tennis team to their second SEC tennis team championship, and their first since 1952—when Bartlett was a member of the team.

In 1966, Bartlett began a seven-year tenure at Florida after Norm Sloan left for North Carolina State. Unlike Sloan, Bartlett emphasized defense from the start.[4] Bartlett's first Gators squad, including Gary Keller and Neal Walk, was the best Florida had produced until that time;[5] they finished 21–4 overall (the school's first 20-win season),[6] and 14–4 in the SEC.[7] It was also the first Gators basketball squad to ever be ranked in the national polls.[7] In an era when only conference champions were guaranteed bids in the 23-team NCAA Tournament, the Gators missed their first SEC title and NCAA Tournament appearance by a single game after losing to coach Ray Mears' Tennessee Volunteers twice in the regular season.[7] Although Bartlett's 1968–1969 Gators received an invitation to the 1969 National Invitation Tournament (NIT),[8] none of his subsequent Gators teams equaled the success of his first.[9] He was also responsible for recruiting Florida's first African-American player, Steve Williams.[10] He finished with an overall win-loss record of 95–85 and 62–64 in the SEC.[11]

Bartlett returned to collegiate coaching in 1979, serving as the men's and women's tennis head coach for the Chattanooga Mocs for twelve seasons until 1990.[12] His Chattanooga Mocs teams won eight Southern Conference men's tennis championships (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1988 and 1989); his Lady Mocs teams won five Southern Conference women's tennis championships (1984, 1985, 1986, 1988 and 1990) and three NCAA Division II women's tennis championships (1983, 1984 and 1985).

Bartlett was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.[13] He died on October 19, 2016 at his home in Chattanooga.[14]

Tennis family[edit]

Bartlett's daughter-in-law, Sue Bartlett, was an All-American for the Chattanooga Lady Mocs tennis team in 1978; his granddaughter, Claire Bartlett, played for the Florida Gators women's tennis team from 2008 to 2011.[15]

Head coaching record[edit]

Men's basketball[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Carson–Newman Eagles () (1957–1958)
1957–58 Carson–Newman 17–7
Carson–Newman: 17–7
Chattanooga Mocs () (1958–1962)
1958–59 Chattanooga 14–7
1959–60 Chattanooga 10–13
1960–61 Chattanooga 17–8 NCAA Division II 1st round
1961–62 Chattanooga 15–10
Chattanooga: 56–38[16]
Florida Gators (Southeastern Conference) (1966–1973)
1966–67 Florida 21–4 14–4 2nd
1967–68 Florida 15–10 11–7 5th
1968–69 Florida 18–9 12–6 3rd NIT 1st round
1969–70 Florida 9–17 6–12 8th
1970–71 Florida 11–15 8–10 7th
1971–72 Florida 10–15 4–14 10th
1972–73 Florida 11–15 7–11 7th
Florida: 95–85 62–64[11]
Total: 168–130

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Associated Press, "Bartlett New Cage Coach At Florida," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, p. 1D (June 5, 1966). Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Lenoir City Schools, Sports Hall of Fame, 66 – Tommy Bartlett. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  4. ^ "Emphasis on Defense for Gators," The Evening Independent, p. 17A (November 17, 1966). Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  5. ^ Frank Deford, "Tall, Stoned and Gatoraded," Sports Illustrated (January 16, 1967). Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  6. ^ Paul Jenkins, "20 victories is a big deal for Gators today," The Gainesville Sun, p. 7D (February 14, 1987). Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c Mike Cobb, "20 years ago, UF also scaled the heights," The Gainesville Sun, p. 6C (January 29, 1987). Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  8. ^ Kevin Brockway, "1969 Gators made similar trip to NYC," The Gainesville Sun (March 30, 2008). Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  9. ^, College Basketball Coaches, Tommy Bartlett. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  10. ^ Kevin Brockway, "Steve Williams was the first black athlete to receive a basketball scholarship at Florida," The Gainesville Sun, pp. 1C & 6C (December 17, 2006). Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  11. ^ a b 2009–10 Florida Gators Men's Basketball Media Guide, History, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 125–126, 132, 134 (2009). February 7, 2011.
  12. ^ 2010 Chattanooga Mocs Tennis Media Guide, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Athletic Department, Chattanooga, Tennessee (2010). Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  13. ^ Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Inductees, Bartlett, Thomas G. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  14. ^
  15. ^, Women's Tennis Roster, Claire Bartlett. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
  16. ^ Chattanooga 2010–11 Men's Basketball Media Guide, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Athletic Department, Chattanooga, Tennessee, p. 109 (2010). Retrieved February 12, 2011.


  • Koss, Bill, Pond Birds: Gator Basketball, The Whole Story From The Inside, Fast Break Press, Gainesville, Florida (1996). ISBN 978-0-8130-1523-1.