April 10, 2014
DALLAS - Coastal Carolina University men's basketball head coach Cliff Ellis recently received the 2014 Gene Bartow Award from CollegeInsider.com.
Ellis led Coastal to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993 and became just the 10th coach in NCAA Division I history to lead four different programs to the NCAA Tournament and holds a career 8-9 record in the NCAA Tournament. He has taken three teams to the "Sweet 16" including his 1990 Clemson squad, his 1999 Auburn team and his 2003 Auburn team.
This is the second year of the Gene Bartow Award, named after longtime coach Gene Bartow. The award recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the game, on and off the floor. Last season, Pacific's retiring coach Bob Thomason won the inaugural award.
Bartow spent 36 years as a head coach, posting a 647-353 record. He led Memphis State to the 1973 NCAA championship game, losing to UCLA in St. Louis, the last in the Bruins’ streak of seven straight titles. After leaving Memphis to coach at the University of Illinois, Bartow succeeded legendary UCLA coach John Wooden at UCLA in 1975. In two seasons at UCLA, Bartow’s Bruins had a 52-9 won-lost record and reached the 1976 NCAA Final Four.
Then, following the 1976-77 season, Bartow departed UCLA to start a basketball program at the University of Alabama Birmingham as both head coach and director of athletics. He served at UAB for 18 years, leading the Blazers to the National Invitation Tournament in the program's second year of existence. Overall, he guided UAB to seven straight NCAA tournament berths, reaching the Sweet 16 in 1981 and the Elite Eight in 1982.
While at UAB, Bartow became the winningest coach in Sun Belt Conference history with 111 career Sun Belt wins. In 2005 Bartow was honored as the all-time Sun Belt Men’s Basketball Coach during the league’s celebration of its 30th anniversary.
In 1996, Bartow retired from coaching, and UAB honored him by naming its basketball facility Bartow Arena the following year. Most recently, the 81-year-old Bartow was the president of Hoops LP, the parent company of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the FedEx Forum.