Memphis Grizzlies majority owner Michael Heisley today named legendary college basketball coach and Memphis basketball legend, Gene Bartow as President of Hoops LP, which operates the Memphis Grizzlies and FedExForum.
“I am pleased to announce the expansion of Gene’s role with the Grizzlies which allows him to be more involved in all areas of the organization,” Heisley said. “We feel he is a perfect fit for the Grizzlies and the City of Memphis. Over the past seven years Gene has expanded his involvement with the Grizzlies to enhance the team’s relationship with the community. His contacts with all fans in Memphis and the surrounding region made him an obvious choice.”
Bartow was named the NCAA National Coach of the year in 1973 after leading Memphis State to the NCAA finals against UCLA and has been serving the Grizzlies as a special advisor since the team came to Memphis in 2001. He has assisted with basketball and team related matters such as scouting in both the college and professional ranks, serving as a goodwill ambassador in the community and helping to sell season tickets and sponsorships.
“I am pleased with the confidence shown in me by Mike Heisley and excited about the opportunity, Bartow said. “I am optimistic about facing the challenge with General Manager Chris Wallace, Head Coach Marc Iavaroni and President of Business Operations Andy Dolich. When Mark and Chris were appointed I felt that Grizzlies fans were in for some exciting times. I have watched what they have already done since joining us, which has only increased my optimism about the future. I am honored by the opportunity Michael Heisley has given me to serve the organization.”
Bartow compiled 647 wins in 34 years of collegiate coaching success. At Memphis State University from 1970-1974, he advanced the Tigers to the 1973 NCAA national championship game after winning consecutive Missouri Valley Conference titles in the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons. His teams at Memphis State, UCLA and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) combined to reach a pair of NCAA Final Fours, three regional finals, twelve appearances in the NCAA tournament, and nine appearances in the NIT tournament, including two NIT Final Fours.
In addition to his National Coach of the Year honor in 1973, Bartow has been named to five Halls of Fame and has both the arena on the UAB campus and the gym at St. Charles Missouri high school, named in his honor. After his retirement from coaching, Bartow continued to serve UAB as its Athletics Director, a position he held from 1977-2000.