Gene Bartow (’52) died Jan. 3, 2012, at his
home in Birmingham, Ala. After serving two
years in the U.S. Army at Fort Bliss in El Paso,
Texas, Bartow coached five years in high school at
Shelbina and St. Charles, Mo. The gymnasium at
St. Charles is named for Bartow and Ernie Hedges.
Following two years as an assistant coach at the
University of California-Santa Barbara, he began
his 34-year college head coaching career in 1961
at Central Missouri State (now the University of
Central Missouri) at Warrensburg. He coached
at Valparaiso (Ind.) University, Memphis State
University (now the University of Memphis),
the University of Illinois, UCLA and UAB in
Birmingham. He started the athletic program at
UAB in 1977 as head coach and athletic director.
Bartow retired from coaching in 1996, retaining
his athletic director’s post until 2000. After his
retirement the arena at UAB was renamed Bartow
Arena. Bartow coached Puerto Rican and United
States national teams, including the Puerto Rican
team in the 1972 Olympics at Munich, Germany. He
took the first United States basketball team to the
People’s Republic of China in 1973 and conducted
coaching clinics in many countries, including China,
Japan, Italy, Spain, Germany and England. In 2007
Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley asked him to serve
as president of Hoops LP, the parent company of
the Grizzlies and the operating company of the
FedEx Forum, the Grizzlies home arena. Bartow
served as president of the Hoops LP until his death.
He was inducted into the Truman Athletics Hall of Fame in 1987.