THE Gene Bartow AWARD

2017 Gene Bartow Award

April 4, 2017


PHOENIX, AZ -- Towson’s Pat Skerry is the recipient of the 2017 Gene Bartow award.

In six years, Skerry has revitalized the Towson men’s basketball program, leading the Tigers to unprecedented consistent success in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Four years ago he and TCU assistant Tom Herrion started Coaches Powering Forwards, an autism awareness weekend each season in college basketball where hundreds of coaches and media members wear a blue pin on their lapel.

In the 2016-17 season more than 400 people participated, across all levels of basketball.

Skerry and Herrion have been good friends for years and each has a son on the autism spectrum. 

“Pat Skerry truly is truly one of the best people in the business,” said’s Angela Lento. “No matter how much he accomplishes as a coach, and he has done a lot at Towson, it will never compare to the work he has done to bring awareness to autism.”

The Tigers finished third in the CAA, recording their third 20-win season in the last four years. Skerry has engineered a remarkable turnaround. After enduring a 1-31 record in his first season, he’s led Towson to a 93-75 record the last five seasons, including a 54-35 mark in the CAA

The Gene Bartow award recognizes outstanding achievement and contributions to the game.

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.




The Gene Bartow Award is presented annually to a current or former coach for his contributions to the game. It measures a coach’s win-loss record but also the impact he’s made on his players, school and community.
It’s name in honor of a legendary coach who compiled a 647-353 record, led Memphis State to the 1973 national title game, steered UCLA to the Final Four and started the University of Alabama-Birmingham program from scratch, building it into a postseason regular.
Bartow won four Sun Belt tournament and three regular season titles during his 17 years at UAB, leading the program to a 350-193 record and seven consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. 
He passed away in 2012 at age 81, following a two-year battle with stomach cancer.
The recipient of the 2021 award will be announced on April 1.

The Gene Bartow award committee is a 6 member panel, consisting of one current division I head coaches, three retired head coaches and two staff members.  Current ETSU head coach Murry Bartow is the chairman of the award committee.
The Gene Bartow award is presented annually to a current or retired coach for outstanding achievement and contributions to the game, as voted on by the awards committee. 
March 30: Gene Bartow Award announced
The recipients of the 17 national awards, presented by, are announced annually at the site of the NCAA men’s division I basketball championship.
The 2018 Awards Banquet will take place on March 30 in San Antonio, TX.

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