BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Gene Bartow, who succeeded John Wooden at UCLA and later began UAB's program, has died. He was 81.
A UAB spokesman says Bartow, who was the president of the company that owns the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies and FedEx Forum, died Tuesday evening at his home in Birmingham, Ala., after a nearly 2-year battle with stomach cancer.
Bartow was one of the winningest NCAA Division I basketball coaches with 647 wins over 34 seasons. He succeeded John Wooden as UCLA's coach in 1976 and led the Bruins to the Final Four. He left after two seasons to start Alabama-Birmingham's program. He was UAB's coach from 1978-96 before handing the reins to his son.
UAB President Carol Garrison called Bartow "a pioneer and passionate believer and leader in UAB athletics."