Gene Bartow, the man most basketball fans will know as being the coach who replaced John Wooden at UCLA, and would later start Alabama-Birmingham’s athletic programs, died at the age of 81. Bartow died Tuesday evening at his home in Birmingham after a battle with stomach cancer.
While Bartow was one of the winningest coaches in D-I basketball (647 wins in 34 seasons), Bartow got his start right here in Missouri. The native of Browning, Mo. coached St. Charles High to a state championship in 1957. He credits the players on that team for jumpstarting his college coaching career which began at Central Missouri.
AUDIO Bartow in 2009 talking about his ties to Missouri (:25)
After a three year stint at Central Missouri from 1961-64, Bartow coached at Valparaiso from ’64-’70, Memphis State from ’70-’74, where he led to the Tigers to a title game appearance against Wooden’s Bruins in 1973. Bartow went to Illinois from ’74-’75 and then UCLA from ’75-’77 before moving onto UAB from ’78-’96.
This Saturday that school will be hosting Memphis in the Bartow Classic which helps raise money for the Coach Gene Bartow Fund for cancer research.
Bartow was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.