Jan. 3, 2012
Former UCLA Head Men's Basketball Coach Gene Bartow, 81, died Tuesday evening in Birmingham, Ala., after a two-year battle with stomach cancer.
Gene Bartow was named the UCLA head coach following Coach John Wooden's retirement after the 1974-75 season. In his first season (1975-76) at the UCLA helm, Bartow guided the Bruins to a 28-4 overall record and an eighth consecutive Pacific-8 championship (13-1). UCLA advanced to the Final Four for the 10th straight year and finished third. The Bruins finished the season ranked No. 5 in nation.
In his second and final season as the Bruin head coach in 1976-77, Bartow led UCLA to a 24-5 overall mark and another Pac-8 title. The Bruins advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, and senior forward and captain Marques Johnson earned All-America honors and became the first-ever John R. Wooden Award as the nation's top player. Following the 1976-77 campaign, Bartow left UCLA to start the basketball program at the University of Alabama-Birmingham as its athletic director and men's basketball head coach.
"Everyone in the Bruin family is saddened by the loss of Gene Bartow," UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland said. "We celebrate the life he lived, which he did so in exemplary fashion. He was a wonderful person and an outstanding coach and family man and will be dearly missed."
Bartow compiled a coaching record of 647-353 over 34 years, including going 52-9 at UCLA to post the second-highest winning percentage in school history (.852). He was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in November 2009.
"The UCLA family has suffered a great loss today with the passing of former Bruin men's basketball coach Gene Bartow," said UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero. "Gene had the unenviable task when he arrived at UCLA of following the greatest coach in college basketball history, John Wooden, and did so admirably. In fact, he led each of his Bruin teams to the Pac-8 title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament, including a Final Four appearance in 1976, and compiled an astounding 52-9 overall record. More importantly, he was a wonderful man and a pleasure to be around, both during his time on campus and after. He will be sorely missed. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the entire Bartow family."
Bartow is survived by his wife of 59 years, Ruth Huffine Bartow, daughter Beth B. Long, sons Mark and Murry Bartow, and eight grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Russell Bartow.