Thomason Recognized With Gene Bartow Award

Coach Bob Thomason (photo by Bryan Davis)
Coach Bob Thomason (photo by Bryan Davis)

Atlanta, Ga. - Bob Thomason, who recently retired from the University of Pacific, is the recipient of the Gene Bartow award, from The Gene Bartow award recognizes outstanding achievement and contributions to the game.

Coach Thomason, the winningest coach in Pacific and Big West Conference history, has 437 victories after his 25th and final season at the school. Bob's accolades are nearly as numerous as his victories with Big West Conference Coach of the Year honors coming in 1992-93, 1996-97, 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06. After setting a school mark by leading the Tigers to a 27-4 record in 2004-05, Thomason was named as a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award and received USBWA District 9 Coach of the Year honors. He was also named Big West Conference Coach of the Year in 2009-10. Entering the 2012-13 season, he was the 25th winningest active coach and eighth on the list of Most Seasons With Current School.

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 Bruinsí 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, Bartowís 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 Menís Basketball Coach during the leagueís 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 NBAís Memphis Grizzlies and the FedEx Forum.