Monday, December 21, 2009

Memphis Tigers to Honor Bartow Tuesday

Posted By on Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 5:00 PM

The Tigers will try and get back in the win column Tuesday afternoon, when they host Southeast Missouri State (tip-off is noon at FedExForum). Members of the Ohio Valley Conference, the Redhawks will enter the game with a record of 4-7. The schools played twice in the 1934-35 season, but only once since (a Tiger victory on March 2, 1994). They’ve had one common opponent this season. The Tigers beat Arkansas State, 74-55, while the Redhawks fell to ASU, 73-49.

Gene Bartow (and Larry Finch) in 1973
  • Gene Bartow (and Larry Finch) in 1973

The biggest cheers Tuesday will be reserved for former Tiger coach Gene Bartow, a new member — as of November 22nd — of the College Basketball Hall of Fame. A banner will be raised in honor of Bartow at halftime of Tuesday’s game. The 78-year-old Bartow has been battling stomach cancer since April.

Bartow coached Memphis for four seasons, during which he won Missouri Valley Conference championships in 1972 and 1973, and led the Tigers to the 1973 Final Four, where they fell in the title game to Bill Walton’s UCLA Bruins. He was honored in ’73 as the national Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. His overall record in Memphis (1970-74) was 83-32. He left in 1974 to take over the Illinois program before succeeding the legendary John Wooden at UCLA. He later founded the basketball program at UAB, where he coached for 18 years.

Among Bartow’s fellow Hall of Fame inductees this year are Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Beyond his credentials as a basketball coach, Bartow remains among the finest gentlemen the Memphis sports community has known.

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