The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame inducted eight new members on Sunday night at the College Basketball Experience in Kansas City. Headlining the 2009 group was Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Wayman Tisdale, Travis Grant, Jud Heathcote, Walter Byers, Bill Wall, and Gene Bartow.
Bartow may be known as the coach who followed John Wooden at UCLA or the man who built the University of Alabama-Birmingham basketball team from scratch, but he also had strong ties to Central Missouri. Coaching the Mules was his first college job and he credits the kids he coached in high school who gave him his start.
Bartow won 647 games in 34 years of coaching with stops at UCM, Valparaiso, Memphis State, Illinois, UCLA, and UAB. It is fitting that the Mules will open play in the CBE Classic at the Sprint Center on Tuesday with a 2pm tip against Rockhurst.