Gene Bartow, former coach at Memphis State and UCLA, was hired yesterday as president of Hoops LP, the company that operates the Memphis Grizzlies and their arena, the FedExForum.
Bartow was chosen NCAA coach of the year in 1973 after leading the Tigers to the NCAA finals against powerhouse UCLA.
After a one-season stint at Illinois, Bartow succeeded John Wooden at UCLA, going 52-9 in two seasons and leading the Bruins to the Final Four in 1976.
He then left to help found the athletic program at UAB, serving as the school's first head basketball coach and athletic director.
He retired from UAB in 2000 and has been a special adviser to the Grizzlies since they relocated from Vancouver in 2001. He has helped the team scout and worked in the community to promote the team and sell tickets and sponsorships.
"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," team owner Michael Heisley said in a statement. "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."